Switzerland has returned 32 cultural treasures dating from the Pharaonic and Roman periods to the Egyptian Embassy in Bern, the Federal Office of Culture announced on Monday. The objects had been involved in a cantonal criminal procedure.
Four of the pieces are of exceptional rarity, cultural significance and aesthetic quality. These include a bust of a pharaoh wearing a crown, a fragmented stone slab (known as a stele) depicting the patron goddess of Thebes from the era of the New Kingdom (circa 1500−1000 BC), and two architectural fragments with cult scenes from the Roman period (circa 753 BC to 476 AD).
The objects were returned to Egypt in conjunction with the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Federal Act on the International Transfer of Cultural Property. The federal act marked the implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the illegal transfer of cultural goods.
On Tuesday, an international meeting will take place in Bern under the title “The UNESCO Convention of 1970: 10 years of implementation in Switzerland − The preservation of cultural heritage and the duty to care for cultural goods”.
The event will include discussion of the practical enforcement of the act both nationally and internationally, and the effect it has had on museums, archaeologists, art dealers, collectors and government authorities in its first ten years.