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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 November 2006, 13:23 GMT
Man held for 'pharaoh relic' sale
The mummy of Ramses II, photographed in France in 1976
The mummy of Ramses II was taken to France in the 1970s
A man has been arrested in France after advertising what he said was a lock of hair from Egypt's Pharaoh Ramses II for sale on the internet.

The man said he had obtained the relic when his father worked on the pharaoh's mummy in France in the 1970s.

Police seized small plastic sachets and boxes from the home of the man in the French Alpine town of Grenoble.

The items have to be tested, but some experts said it was possible that the unnamed man's claims were true.

Christian Leblanc, a French archaeologist specialising in Ramses II, said: "This could unfortunately be real. If so, it is a scandal. It is deplorable and unacceptable".

If these elements are authentic, it would be a scandal that would risk harming relations between France and Egypt
Zahi Hawass
Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities

"This irresponsible person must be thrown in jail," he told the French AFP news agency.

Ramses II is one of the most famous Egyptian pharaohs. He reigned from 1279 to 1213 BC.

His mummified body was moved to France in 1976 for treatment to stop it being destroyed by fungus.

Alleged relics of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II advertised on sale on the internet
The alleged relic was offered for 2,000 euros

The arrested man had said his father was a researcher on the French team that worked on the mummy.

He advertised "strands of hair from the mummy of Ramses II" for sale at 2,000 euros (1,350), saying he could prove their authenticity with photos, certificates, embalming resin and bandages.

The head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, told AFP in Cairo that "if these elements are authentic, it would be a scandal that would risk harming relations between France and Egypt".

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