A stone stela featuring the pharaoh Seti I, alongside two ancient Egyptian deities, Hathor and Wepwaet, was finally returned to Egypt. Credit: Ministry of Antiquities. A 2-foot-long wall carving featuring the pharaoh Seti I is back in Egypt after being repatriated from the United Kingdom, the Egyptian minister of antiquities announced Monday (Dec. 14).
Egypt has long pushed for the return of ancient artifacts — an effort that is only intensifying as political upheaval deters Egyptian tourism. The carving, or stela, is made of pinkish limestone and depicts two ancient Egyptian deities, Hathor and Wepwawet, next to King Seti I, who ruled between about 1290 B.C. and 1279 B.C. According to the Ministry of Antiquities, the piece may have come from a temple, which is notable because no official excavation has uncovered a temple of Seti I; the existence of the stela may mean one is waiting to be discovered.
The stela was smuggled out of Egypt from an illegal dig, according to the Ministry of Antiquities. It will go on display along with other repatriated objects in January at the Cairo Museum.