Egypt asks to borrow famous ancient artefacts
Egypt has asked Britain, France, Germany and the United States to loan five of ancient Egypt's most famous artefacts, including the Rosetta Stone and a bust of Queen Nefertiti, for special exhibitions in 2010 and 2011, Egypt's chief archaeologist said on Sunday.
Zahi Hawass, the head of the Supreme Antiquities Council, said Egypt wanted four of the objects for the opening of a new Egyptian Museum near the Giza Pyramids in 2011.
The Nefertiti bust, one of the world's most reproduced images, would go to a separate exhibition at a provincial museum dedicated to her husband, the "rebel" pharaoh Akhenaten, Hawass said. He was quoted by the state news agency MENA.
Hawass has campaigned for the permanent return of the Rosetta Stone and the bust of Nefertiti but MENA quoted him as saying the objects would come on temporary loan this time.
The other antiquities are a statue of pyramid architect Hemiunu from the Hildesheim Museum in Germany, the Zodiac ceiling taken from the Dendera Temple and now in the Louvre in Paris and a statue of Old Kingdom official Ankh-Haf from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in the United States, he said.
The Rosetta Stone, which carries an inscription in three parallel scripts including Egyptian hieroglyphics, was the key to deciphering ancient Egyptian in the early 19th century.