British Museum Assistant Keeper of Ancient Egypt and Sudan Department Marcel Marée recounts to Ahram Online that he and his colleagues spotted the stolen ancient Egyptian objects from Christie’s latest catalogue listing antiquities up for sale, among which were the six artefacts that are claimed to have been in a private UK collection since the 1940s. "But I had reason to doubt this," he reveals.
The British Museum relies on an extensive network of Egyptologists who are helping trace the provenance of the possible stolen antiquities, including Hourig Sourouzian, who used to work for the German Archaeological Institute and has been conducting excavations at the Amenhotep III mortuary temple on Luxor's west bank for many years now.
Marée contacted Sourouzian, who immediately recognised the red granite relief fragment depicting a Nubian captive - a motif found typically at the bases of colossal royal statues. The same day she sent him a screen shot from her database search, confirming that the fragment was discovered in King Amenhotep III temple in 2000."
"We are now researching the possible origins of the other five," Marée tells Ahram Online.
All six pieces – which include ancient Egyptian reliefs and statue fragments - are now in the possession of Christie’s Auction Hall until British police investigations identify the owner. - Ahram Online
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