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Sunday, 27 January, 2002, 02:57 GMT
Egypt recovers missing sarcophagus
Egypt has recovered from Germany the lower half of the sarcophagus of the pharaoh Akhenaton, 80 years after it was stolen.

The sarcophagus, which is entirely covered in gold, was discovered in 1907 in the Valley of the Kings in southern Egypt, but the base was stolen, and by 1931 it had been given up for lost.

Cairo museum
The lower half has been returned to the Cairo museum
It resurfaced 20 years ago when the then director of Munich's museum of Egyptian art spotted it in the private collection of a Swiss collector who had himself obtained the antiquity via Italy.

He then agreed to hand over the sarcophagus to the Munich museum for restoration.

The regional Bavarian government came to an agreement with Egypt that the lower half could be returned if the upper half was first loaned to the Munich museum, where the reunited parts of the pharaoh attracted some 50,000 visitors.

Now the lower half has finally arrived by plane in Cairo, accompanied by an Egyptian delegation.

The Cairo museum opened its doors on Friday night to take in the sarcophagus.

Akhenaton, husband of Nefertiti, ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago and was credited with leading Egypt away from traditional religions towards monotheism.

See also:

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