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Egypt says stolen pharaonic tablet repatriated from UK

By AFP - Jan 09,2019 - Last updated at Jan 09,2019

This handout photo released by the Egyptian ministry of antiquities on Wednesday, shows an ancient Egyptian relief which was previously on display in the Temple of Karnak in Luxor with a carved cartouche fragment of King Amonhotep I of the 18th dynasty (16th-13th century BC), recovered from the United Kingdom in September 2018 after it was stolen, smuggled out of Egypt, and put up on display at an auction house in London (AFP photo)

CAIRO — An ancient Egyptian pharaonic stone tablet that was stolen from Karnak temple was repatriated this week from Britain where it had been touted for sale, Egypt’s antiquities ministry said.

‘‘The piece was last seen in the open museum in Luxor temple in the early 1990s,’’ Shaaban Abdel Gawad, who is in charge of archaeological collections at the ministry, told AFP on Wednesday.

‘‘The necessary legal measures were taken to recover the object,’’ he added.

The artefact was stolen from the Karnak temple’s open museum and was spotted on online auction sites, the ministry said.

The sale was cancelled, the statement said.

The artefact is part of a cartouche — an ornamental tablet — of Pharoah Amenhotep I, of the 17th dynasty, who ruled in the 16th century BC. 

The antiquities ministry said that the piece had been retrieved by Egypt’s London embassy in September 2018 in coordination with British authorities. 

Egypt regularly retrieves stolen archaeological treasures from abroad.

Cairo is still campaigning for the repatriation of key items, including some on display in European museums, such as the celebrated bust of Queen Nefertiti in Berlin.

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