afrol News, 11 November - The US Metropolitan Museum of Art has agreed to repatriate a collection of ancient Egyptian objects, including some that had belonged to King Tutankhamun and had been in New York since 1948.
According to a statement made today by Egypt's Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosni, curators at the Metropolitan Museum had established that 19 antiquities housed by the museum originated from the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, which was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 in the Valley of the Kings.
Among the ancient objects was a lapis-lazuli sphinx that once adorned a bracelet worn by King Tutankhamun. The collection also included a three-quarter-inch-high bronze dog, come from the tomb of the boy-pharaoh.
"The objects will go on display with the Tutankhamun exhibition at Times Square, where they will stay until January," the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawwas, said.
After a further six months on show in New York the collection would return to Egypt, to be housed in a new museum being built on the Giza plateau, Mr Hawwas added.
Currently, the Egyptian government counts on 16 bilateral agreements with other countries securing the repatriation of antiquities that were illegally exported from the country's national territory.
The latest country to ink such an agreement with Egypt was Switzerland. The Swiss-Egyptian repatriation agreement was signed in April this year. Switzerland is considered one of the countries housing the largest collections of archaeological artefacts illegally exported from the Nile country.
"During the latest eight years, our main objective has been to recover Egyptian antiquities that were smuggled out of our country," Mr Hawwas described the giant operation. By now, he says, over 5,000 archaeological artefacts have been recovered from abroad, all of which are to be exhibited at the Egyptian Museum late next year.
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