3,500-year-old Pharaohs stone head returned to Egypt

December 22nd, 2008 - 2:11 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 22 (ANI): A 3,500-year-old stone head of a pharaoh, stolen from Egypt almost 20 years ago, has been returned to the countrys embassy.

According to a report by BBC News, the sculpture, depicting the pharaoh Amenhotep III, who died in 1375 BC, was smuggled out of Egypt in 1990, breaching laws banning export of antiques over 100 years old.

London antiques restorer Jonathan Tokeley-Parry had dipped the sculpture of Amenhotep III in plastic and painted it black to make it resemble a cheap copy.

Now, 10 years after he was jailed, the head has been returned in a ceremony.

In 2002, a US dealer was also jailed for handling the article, which was found in London by police in 1999.

Since then, the international legalities of returning it have been negotiated and finally agreed.

It is a great privilege to be able to finally hand this priceless item back to the Egyptian authorities, said Sgt Vernon Rapley, Head of the Met Art and Antiques unit.

It is a valuable piece of Egyptian history, which was ruthlessly taken by an organised criminal, who sought to strip the country of its antiquities for his own profit, he added.

Tokeley-Parry, a well-known figure in the art world, was convicted in 1997 of illegally selling stolen archaeological finds, and spent three years in prison. (ANI)

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