The archaeological item is said to be part of a tablet carving of Egyptian King Amenhotep I

An ancient Egyptian artefact illegally smuggled out of the country has been returned after being displayed at an auction hall in London.

It was retrieved following searches of international auction websites.

Egypt’s ministry of antiquities says it is not clear how or when the relic, a cartouche of King Amenhotep was originally smuggled out of the country, but the archaeological item was earlier exhibited at the open museum of the ancient Temple of Karnak in the city of Luxor, where it was found.

The antiquities ministry worked with the Egyptian foreign ministry, Egypt’s embassy in London and British authorities to recover the section of tablet, adding that the embassy in London had received it last September.

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