Egypt recovers smuggled ancient artefact from London auction house

Egypt recovers smuggled ancient artefact from London auction house
2 min read
09 January, 2019
Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities has said that an arefact reportedly stolen from a museum in Luxor has been repatriated after going on display at a London auction house.
The ancient relief bears a cartouche of King Amenhotep I [Ministry of Antiquities]

An ancient artefact illegally smuggled into the UK has been repatriated to Egypt, the country's Antiquities Ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry said in a statement that the relief bearing a  cartouche of King Amenhotep I from the 18th dynasty had been on display at a London auction house.

The relief was originally exhibited at the open museum of the ancient temple of Karnak in the city of Luxor, according to the statement.

The ministry said the Egyptian Embassy in London received the artefact in September.

Egypt has drastically stepped up efforts in recent years to stop the trafficking of its antiquities.

It has warned foreign museums that it will not help them mount exhibits on ancient Egyptian sites unless they return smuggled artefacts.

Efforts to unearth new archaeological finds have also seemingly stepped up in Egypt, as the country prepares to open a 'mega museum' of antiquities in 2020.

Last year saw archaeologists in Egypt uncover several significant finds around the sites of ancient cities, including a tomb of an ancient priest dating back over 4,000 years and a pink granite obelisk from around the same period.

Egyptian authorities hope new archaeological finds will help revive the country's struggling tourism industry, which has suffered due to the turmoil that followed the toppling of former dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

According to official data, Egypt received 8.3 million visitors in 2017, a figure dwarfed by the 2010 pre-revolution figure of 14.7 million.