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Met to return Egyptian object

The Associated Press is reporting that New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art will be returning an object to Egypt (Joseph Freeman, "The Met returns Egyptian artifact", AP October 27, 2009 [07:58 GMT]). The piece apparently comes from a red granite shrine of Amenemhat I and was purchased from an unnamed collector.

Intriguingly the report states that the fragment "was purchased from an antiquities collector in New York last October so that it could be returned". Does this mean that the collector did not wish to be in direct contact with the Egyptian authorities? How did he or she acquire the piece?

Zahi Hawass commented positively on the way that the Met purchased the item purely so that it could be "repatriated".

The fragment is due to be returned to Egypt on Thursday this week.

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