A limestone relief dating back to the New Kingdom period, between the 16th and 11th centuries BC, was recovered Sunday from an auction hall in London after two weeks of negotiations.
Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty told Ahram Online that the ministry was informed about the relief by the curator at the British Museum, Marcel Marée.
Marée sent a photograph of the piece to the ministry asking for its authenticity, as the piece was put on display in an auction hall in London.
Eldamaty assigned an archeological committee to inspect the relief. The committee later confirmed its authenticity.
A report was then filed at Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities police and a similar one was sent to Interpol in order to stop the sale of the relief.
Ali Ahmed, Director of the Recuperation Antiquities Department, explained that the relief was then confiscated by the British police and is due to come home next week.
He explained that the relief was stolen due to illegal excavations. The relief is engraved with a scene depicting the 19th dynasty King Seti I before goddess Hathor and god Web Wawat. It also bears hieroglyphic text and the names of several ancient Egyptian deities of Assiut governorate in Upper Egypt.
“It is a very important relief as it depicts a not yet discovered temple of king Seti I in Assiut,” Ahmed pointed out.