Watch This | Return after plunder: 2,700-year-old sarcophagus lid 'struggles' to go home
According to reports from BBC and AFP, Egypt declared on January 2 that it had recovered a sarcophagus lid from about 2,700 years ago that it claimed had been robbed and displayed in a museum in the United States.
The lid was among 17 artifacts recently recovered from the US. According to official media, it was taken from the Abusir necropolis south of Cairo and transported to the US in 2008 before appearing at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in 2013. Over the past decade, about 29,000 antiques that were illegally removed abroad have been returned to Egypt.
Experts say that although Egypt has recovered many artifacts in recent years, the Rosetta Stone, considered to be one of the most significant cultural relics, has been kept in the British Museum since it was taken out of Egypt by British forces in 1801 and grown to be one of the museum's most liked exhibits. The inscription on the black granite tablet is crucial information for understanding ancient Egyptian writing.
More than Africa itself, European and American museums now house the majority of the world's African artifacts after centuries of colonial dominance and ruthless looting. For instance, the British Museum houses 73,000 items, the Dutch National Museum of World Cultures has 66,000, the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Belgium has 180,000, and there are 50,000 ancient African cultural artifacts in museums around the United States.
Although Western countries have recently started to return looted historical relics gradually, this only represents the "tip of the iceberg" of the enormous collections they have taken. Since the 1960s, the Nigerian government has urged Western countries who are keeping these artifacts to return them to their original owners. However, Western countries refused to give them back, citing seemingly lofty reasons, such as "Africa is not capable of maintaining its cultural relics" and "Western museums are better places to help African cultural relics demonstrate their global significance."