EGYPTIAN SEASON OF ARTEFACTS RETURNS: HOPEFUL SIGN TO BE FOLLOWED BY OTHERS?
”There is a moral imperative for museums around the world to return certain artefacts to the countries they came from, and we are going to identify how we can help each other to increase the pressure on the keepers of those artefacts.”
Zahi Hawass. (1)
Egyptians seem to be having tremendous success in the recovery of their artefacts taken away during the heyday of imperialism and colonialism or stolen since 1970 when States adopted the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970). (2)
In addition to the frescoes received a few months ago from France (Louvre, Paris), the United States of America has also returned to Egypt a 3,000-year-old sarcophagus. The coffin which had been taken out of Egypt illegally in 1884 was seized at Miami Airport by US Customs from a gallery owner who was unable to provide documentation of ownership. (3)
Most remarkably, Britain has returned recently some 25,000 objects, including a stone axe dating back 200,000 years and pottery from the seventh millennium BC with the finger prints of the producers. (4) These artefacts were returned after long negotiations with the University of London. We must congratulate the leaders of the university for having finally seen the light of reason and acted accordingly.
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