Zahi Hawass has announced Switzerland will return a 19 inch eye from this statue of Amenhotep III, according to AFP. The statue was uncovered in 1970, and the eye was stolen in 1972. Hawass said the eye was sold to an American antiquities dealer; who auctioned it at Sotheby’s; then it was bought by a German antiquities dealer; and it ended up in a museum in Basel, Switzerland. That’s the typical journey of a stolen or illegally excavated antiquity.
It’s a very good thing this eye is being returned — seemingly in an amicable way. The wire story raises more questions though: will the Swiss museum receive loans or other compensation; who are these dealers; are they still buying and selling objects.