Stolen 3,400-year old statue of Ramses II returned to Egypt

Stolen 3,400-year old statue of Ramses II returned to Egypt
 photo and source: the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

Egypt's antiquities ministry announced on Sunday that a statue dating back 3,400 years, bearing the likeness of King Ramses II's head, has been returned to the country. The statue was stolen and illegally taken out of Egypt over three decades ago.

The statue was previously on display in the Ramses II temple in the ancient city of Abydos. The exact date of the theft is not known but the head of Egypt’s antiquities repatriation department said it likely occurred in the late 80s or early 90s. 

The smuggled statue was spotted by Egyptian authorities at an exhibit marketing the sale of the artifact in London in 2013. After moving to various countries, it ended up in Switzerland, according to the antiquities ministry. 

Egypt worked in collaboration with Swiss authorities to affirm its rightful ownership. Switzerland returned the artifact to the Egyptian embassy in Bern last year. However, Egypt only recently finalized the process of bringing the artifact back to its home country. 

King Ramses II, also known as Ramses the Great, was one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs. His reign from 1279 to 1213 B.C. was marked by many successful battles and the construction of numerous buildings including the temple complex of Abu Simbel. 

The stolen statue now resides in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo but it is not yet on display. The ministry said the it must first be restored. 

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