Egypt has retrieved from the UK a pharaonic artifact, which was stolen from the Karnak Temple and smuggled illegally out of the country. The artifact in question was going to be sold at an auction this week, according to the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry.
According to Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, who is responsible for the archaeological collections at the Ministry of Antiquities, the object stolen from the open museum at the Karnak Temple was found online at auction sites and the sale was canceled, according to a statement released Tuesday.
The bas-relief represents a part of a cartouche of the Pharaoh Amenhotep I (XVIIth Dynasty), which reigned in the 16th century BC.
Asked by journalists on Wednesday, Abdel Gawad said “the piece was last seen in the open museum of the Luxor Temple in the early 1990s”. “The necessary legal measures” were taken to recover it, he added.
The Ministry of Antiquities states that the piece was recovered by the Egyptian Embassy in London in September 2018 in coordination with the
concerned British authorities.
Egypt, rich in archaeological treasures, regularly retrieves stolen ancient objects from abroad. Meanwhile, Cairo is campaigning for the repatriation of objects currently on display in European museums, such as the famous bust of Nefertiti in Berlin.