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Smuggled King Ramses II statue head successfully returns to Egypt

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, represented by the Supreme Council of Antiquities, received the head of a statue of King Ramses II which had been received by the Egyptian embassy in the Swiss capital, Bern back in July.

This came following efforts by the Egyptian Ministries of Tourism, Antiquities, and Foreign Affairs and the concerned authorities to track down and recover the head after it had been illegally smuggled out of the country.

The Director General of the General Administration for Antiquities Repatriation, Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, explained that the ministry had succeeded in July in recovering the head of the statue and it was delivered to the headquarters of the Egyptian Embassy in the Swiss capital of Bern until it arrived in Egypt and the Ministry received it from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He pointed out that the recovered piece represents the head of a statue of King Ramses II, which dates back more than 3,400 years. It was stolen from his temple in Abydos and left the country illegally more than three decades ago.

Abdel-Gawad explained that this head is part of a group statue depicting King Ramses II sitting next to some Egyptian gods.

He added that upon receiving the piece, it was deposited in the warehouses of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, in preparation for the necessary maintenance and restoration work.


A long journey back to Egypt

The General Administration for Antiquities Repatriation first noticed the head while it was being displayed for sale in a showroom in the British capital, London, in 2013.

It was moved between several countries until reaching Switzerland.

The Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mohamed Ismail Khaled, explained that the recovery of this artifact comes as part of tireless efforts made by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, represented by the Supreme Council of Antiquities, in order to retrieve smuggled Egyptian antiquities.

He expressed his full appreciation for the cooperation with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, the International Cooperation Department of the Egyptian Public Prosecution, the Swiss authorities, and the Egyptian embassy in Bern in order to recover this artifact.


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