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Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 13:39 GMT
Egyptian relics handed over

The heirs of an Egyptian antiquities trader have given the museum authorities in Luxor more than 17,000 ancient artefacts dating from prehistoric to early Christian and Muslim times.

The collection includes a mummy dating back centuries before the emergence of the Pharaohs in the fourth millennium BC, and a number of mummified animals.

One of them is a large crocodile, a creature worshipped as a deity in Pharaonic Egypt.

A thriving trade in ancient relics existed in Egypt until well into the last century, but was eventually restricted by legislation.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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