A statue head of Ramesses II which had been stolen and located in Switzerland, has been recovered and repatriated to Egypt. The statue head has been received by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, represented by the Supreme Council of Antiquities, through the Egyptian embassy in the Swiss capital, Bern, last July. The event represents the success of the efforts of the Egyptian Ministries of Tourism and Antiquities, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and heritage related authorities to track it down and recover the object which had left Egypt illegally.

According to Shaaban Abdel Gawad, Director General of the General Administration for the Recovery of Antiquities and Supervisor of the Central Administration for Archaeological Ports the statue head is part of a group statue representing Ramesses II in the company of deities and dates back more than 3,400 years. It had been stolen from the Pharaoh’s temple in Abydos, leaving the country illegally, more than three decades ago.

Mr. Abdel Gawad pointed out that last July, the statue head was delivered to the headquarters of the Egyptian Embassy in Bern, until its repatriation and handing off to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Upon its reception, the piece was deposited in the warehouse of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, in preparation for the necessary maintenance and restoration work.

It is worth noting that the General Administration for Antiquities Recovery, in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swiss authorities, succeeded in proving Egypt’s right to this piece, since it had left Egypt illegally. In particular, the GA succeeded in monitoring the object’s journey from the time it was offered for sale in a showroom in the British capital, London, in 2013, to its subsequent move across several countries and up to the point it reached Switzerland. Such progress was possible through the implementation of the joint cooperation agreement between Egypt and Switzerland in the field of combating illicit trafficking in cultural property.

Dr. Muhammad Ismail Khaled, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the recovery of this statue head comes within the framework of the tireless efforts exerted by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, represented by the Supreme Council of Antiquities, in order to recover Egyptian antiquities that left Egypt illegally. Dr. Khaled also expressed his full appreciation for the cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, further Egyptian authorities, the International Cooperation Department of the Egyptian Attorney General’s Office, the Swiss authorities, and the Egyptian Embassy in Bern, in order to recover this artifact.