New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has agreed to return 19 objects taken from the tomb of Tutankhamun that it has held since the early 20th century.
Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General, Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, has announced that the museum has acknowledged Egypt’s title to the objects, following new research by its curators that substantiated the history of the objects.
Hawass said the repatriation was a “wonderful” gesture on the part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and applauded its “generosity and ethical behaviour”.
The objects will stay in the US for the time being where they will go on display with the Tutankhamun exhibition at Times Square until January 2011 and then back to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to be shown in its Egyptian collection for a further six months.
“Upon their return to Egypt in June 2011, they will be given a special place in the Tutankhamun galleries at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, and then will move, with the rest of the Tut collection, to the Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza, scheduled to open in 2012,” Hawass said.
The 19 objects range from study samples to a three-quarter-inch-high bronze dog and a sphinx bracelet-element, which was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 in the Valley of the Kings.
At the time the tomb was discovered, the Egyptian government generally allowed excavators to keep a substantial portion of the finds from excavations undertaken and financed by them. However, when the tomb of the famous pharaoh was discovered, the objects were deemed to be so significant that rules were drawn up so that no such partition of finds would take place.
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"Very nice gesture from the New York's museum, maybe the Germans can do the same with Nif's bust."
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