Two Old Kingdom engraved blocks return home

Nevine El-Aref , Thursday 22 Nov 2012

A New Zealand citizen turned over two ancient Egyptian artefacts which had been in the possession of his late friend

The recovered blocks

On Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed over two Old Kingdom sandstone engravings to the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA), which were for decades in the possession of a New Zealand photographer.

The blocks depict two scenes; one shows the lioness goddess of war Sekhmet wearing the Cobra crown, while the second is a hieroglyphic text uncovering a title of an Old Kingdom king saying: "King of Upper and Lower Egypt and the core of the two lands, Horus."

Osama El-Nahas, director of the retrieved antiquities section, relates that the story of these two blocks which were in the possession of a photographer from New Zealand who lived in Egypt during the 1940s and 1950s and died this year. Before his death, El-Nahas said, the photographer told his best friend Bruce Hall to hand over the two blocks to Egypt.

Antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online that the two blocks are now at the Egyptian Museum for restoration, and will be put on show in a special exhibition along with other artefacts that were retrieved last year. He added that the blocks will be studied to determine their original position and location.

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