New York museum to return Tutankhamun relics: Egypt

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CAIRO: Egypt’s antiquities council said on Wednesday that New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has agreed to send back treasures believed to have been taken from the tomb of the legendary pharaoh Tutankhamun.

The museum agreed to recognize Egypt’s right to 19 relics in its possession since early last century, the council said in a statement.

The artifacts, which include a bronze figurine of a dog with a golden collar and a sphinx, part of a bracelet made of semi-precious lapis lazuli, will be returned next year and go on display in 2012, antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said.

"Thanks to the generosity and ethical behavior of the Met, these 19 objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun can now be reunited with the other treasures of the boy king," Hawass said in a statement.

He said the artifacts will remain on display in the United States until mid-2011.

Tutankhamun is believed to have died more than 3,000 years ago when he was about 18 years.

His tomb, which included a gold coffin and mask, was discovered in 1922 by English archaeologist Howard Carver.

Hawass says he has brought back at least 5,000 relics held by foreign museums or collectors since he became head of the antiquities council in 2003.

He oversaw a conference earlier this year of countries such as Greece and China that also want to recover artifacts from foreign museums.

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