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Saturday, 28 July, 2001, 05:10 GMT 06:10 UK
Egyptian stolen sculpture returned

Officials in Egypt are celebrating the return of a 3,000-year-old sculpture of an Egyptian queen which was smuggled to Britain almost a decade ago.

The life-sized stone head -- believed to depict Queen Nefertari, the principal wife of Pharaoh Ramses II -- was returned along with six pieces of papyrus scrolls from the later Greco-Roman period.

The sculpture was stolen in 1992 from its storage place in Sakkara, a village 25km south of Cairo, in what officials described as one of the country's biggest antiquities smuggling case.

In 1995, a joint British and Egyptian investigation broke the smuggling ring and arrested fifteen people.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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