Sunday, 4 October 2015

Garbled stories of London Antiquity Sale

 According to Nevine El-Aref ("Egypt recovers Stolen relief of King Seti I from London''  Al-Ahram Sunday 4 Oct 2015), a limestone block,  43 cm × 67 cm bearing a sunken New Kingdom limestone relief was recovered on Sunday from an unnamed auction house in London.
The relief is engraved with a scene depicting the 19th dynasty King Seti I before goddess Hathor and god Web Wawat. It also bears hieroglyphic text and the names of several ancient Egyptian deities of Assiut governorate in Upper Egypt.
It was spotted on sale two weeks ago by Marcel Mary, curator at the British Museum, who sent a photograph of the piece to the Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt. A report was then filed at Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities police and a similar one was sent to Interpol in order to stop the sale of the relief, as a result the relief was then confiscated by the British police. It was established that the relief came from illegal excavations of a previously unknown temple of king Seti I in Assiu't in Middle Egypt.

A slightly different version appears in the Cairo Post (Egypt’s embassy in London restores smuggled pharaonic stele' Oct. 03, 2015):
The Egyptian embassy in the U.K. has restored an ancient Egyptian stele dates back to the New Kingdom’s 19th dynasty (1291B.C. – 1278B.C,) the state news agency MENA reported Saturday. A British citizen sent the embassy the limestone stele after he recognized that it has been smuggled from Egypt to U.K. He has purchased the smuggled artifact from an antiquities merchant. The stele measures 43*67 centimeters. It depicts colorful inscriptions of The Egyptian god Anubis, goddess Hathor, and pharaoh Seti I. The artifact was smuggled from a temple in Asyut during excavation works before 1970'[...].
Ít is difficult to work out what the story is behind this. Anyway the photo does not show a stele. So was the antiquity on sale or sold? Who knows?

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