Australia returns ancient stela to Egypt

26-02-2019 01:47 PM

Sanaa’ Farouk

The fourth and last part of Seshen-Nefertem stela, which had been stolen from Egypt and smuggled out of the country more than 20 years ago, has been handed to the Egyptian Embassy in Canberra for repatriation.

Macquarie Museum had in 1995 bought the fourth part of the stela and put it on display till Martin Bomms, director of the museum, got wind of the fact that it had been illegally taken out of Egypt. He contacted the Egyptian Embassy in Canberra and willingly returned the stela.

He also praised efforts exerted by the Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities and Foreign Ministry to prove Egypt’s right to retrieve the piece.

The four-part stela was discovered during excavations conducted by an archaeological team from the University of Rome in al-Asasif cemetery on the West Bank of Luxor between 1976 and 1988.

According to Shaaban Abdel-Gawwad, general supervisor of Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry’s department of restored antiquities, all four pieces were reported missing during a sort operation at the museum store in al-Gurna on the West Bank of Luxor in 1995. The three other parts of the stela were retrieved from Switzerland in 2017.

Mr Abdel Gawwad said that, now that the fourth piece has been retrieved, the entire

stela would be assembled and renovated.

Watani International

26 February 2019

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