One of Egypt’s ancient artefact that was illegally smuggled out of the country has been returned after Egyptian authorities took the necessary steps to stop it from being sold at an auction hall in London where it was displayed.
According to a Facebook post by the Ministry, “Today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs premises, the Ministry of Antiquities has officially received an ancient Egyptian relief recovered from London that was stolen and illegally smuggled out of Egypt.
“After a series of searches on international auction websites, Egypt successfully found their stolen treasure and was able to stop the sale and withdraw the listing.”
Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, general supervisor of Antiquities Repatriation Department at the ministry explains that the Ministry of Antiquities succeeded to observe this artefact through following up websites of international auction halls. The newly recovered relief was on display at one of London auction houses. the ministry took all the necessary procedures to stop the sale of the relief and withdraw it from the auction.” the Facebook post stated.
The artefact, known as a relic (a cartouche of King Amenhotep I,) was displayed in the open museum of Karnak Temple at Luxor and it had a carved cartouche of King Amenhotep I on it. To retrieve the relief, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, the Egyptian Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Egyptian embassy in London and all concerned British authorities had to coordinate. In September 2018, the Egyptian Embassy in London received the relief and four months later On January 9, 2019, the relief safely reached its birth country.
Egypt has drastically stepped up efforts in recent years to stop the trafficking of its antiquities. The country has warned foreign museums severally that it will not help them mount exhibits on ancient Egyptian sites unless the smuggled artefacts are returned.
Britain has a bad image when it comes to displaying stolen artefact. Most of its museums gleam with stolen treasures from different countries, including Egypt, like the Rosetta Stone, Box of Amenhotep II, and Cleopatra’s needles, many of which have not been returned.