Metropolitan Museum to send 19 Tut artifacts to Egypt
CAIRO (AP) – Nineteen artifacts taken from the tomb of the famed boy-pharaoh Tutankhamun will be returned to Egypt next week after more than half a century at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Egypt’s antiquities authority said Saturday.
The trove includes a miniature bronze dog and a sphinx-shaped bracelet ornament, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said in a statement.
The move, scheduled for Tuesday, is the result of an agreement between the two institutions last year to return the objects to Egypt.
At the time, then-antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said the objects would become part of the permanent King Tut collection at the new Grand Egyptian Museum, which is under construction near the Giza pyramids and is scheduled to open in 2012.
Hawass, once the most public face of Egyptian archaeology, was fired earlier this month after intense criticism of his close ties to ex-President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in February in a popular uprising.
The antiquities authority said the pieces were sent to New York in 1948 when the Metropolitan Museum closed its expedition house in Egypt.
The decision to repatriate the objects came after an extensive examination of the validity of their origin.
“Because of precise legislation relating to that excavation, these objects were never meant to have left Egypt, and therefore should rightfully belong to the government of Egypt,” Director Thomas Campbell said in a statement on the Metropolitan Museum website.
Museum representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, when it was common practice for archaeologists to keep some or all of their own findings.
Some of the pieces in this collection were handed down through a niece of Carter and his estate in Luxor, which he left entirely to the Metropolitan Museum.
King Tut is one of history’s most famous pharaohs because archaeologists found his tomb full of glittering wealth of the rich 18th Dynasty (1569-1315 B.C.) This year, DNA tests and CT scans on Tut’s 3,300-year-old mummy confirmed that the pharaoh died of a broken leg complicated by malaria at the age of 19.
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