Announced today by Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Affairs:
Today, Dr. Zahi Hawass, Minister of Antiquities Affairs, announced that the missing limestone statue of King Akhenaten, the father of Tutankhamun, has been returned to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
Photo courtesy of the Egyptian Museum
The statue is one of the unique statues from the Amarna Period on display at the Egyptian Museum. It is seven centimeters high and depicts the king standing, wearing a blue crown, and holding an offering table in his hands. The statue is composed of limestone, with the exception of the calcite, or Egyptian Alabaster, base.
Dr. Youssef Khalifa (center) and the returned statue of Akhenaten. (Photo: Ahmed Amin)
Following his press conference at the museum yesterday, Dr. Hawass received the news that the statue had been found.
Dr. Hawass stated that a sixteen-year-old male, one of the protestors at Tahrir Square, found the statue of Akhenaten beside a trashcan. He brought the statue to his home and when his mother saw it she called her brother, Dr. Sabry Abdel Rahman, a professor at AUC. Dr. Rahman, in turn, called the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs to hand the statue over.
Dr. Tarek El-Awady, Director General of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, in his office on 16 February 2011, with the returned statue of Akhenaten. (Photo: Ahmed Amin)
Last night, at the Antiquities and Tourism Police station at Cairo Opera House, an archaeological committee headed by Dr. Youssef Khalifa, head of a committee appointed by the Minister, accepted the returned statue of Akhenaten. The committee approved the authenticity of the statue and confirmed that it is in fact the statue of Akhenaten that was missing. The statue was returned to Dr. Khalifa intact, except for the offering table that was found separately inside the Egyptian Museum.
Dr. Tarek El-Awady, Director General of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, said that both pieces of the statue are now in the conservation lab and would be subject to restoration before being returned to its permanent case in the Amarna Gallery.
On Saturday, a preliminary list of missing objects was released; to date, four objects have been found: the Heart Scarab of Yuya, a shabti of Yuya, the statue of the goddess Menkaret carrying Tutankhamun, and the statue of Akhenaten as an offering bearer. Dr. Hawass has ordered the Registration, Collections Management, and Documentation Department to continue the inventory of the museum and work towards releasing a final report, and asked that the focus be on accurate information rather than speed.
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