French man tried to sell pharaoh relics on web

29th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

CAIRO, Nov 29, 2006 (AFP) - Egypt warned France Wednesday that anything short of full cooperation in the case of the attempted sale by a Frenchman of hair believed to belong to the mummy of Ramses II could harm bilateral ties.

CAIRO, Nov 29, 2006 (AFP) - Egypt warned France Wednesday that anything short of full cooperation in the case of the attempted sale by a Frenchman of hair believed to belong to the mummy of Ramses II could harm bilateral ties.

"We want full transparency," Egypt's antiquities supremo Zahi Hawass told AFP.

French police said Wednesday they had arrested an unidentified man who had posted an ad on an Internet site offering a snip of hair, samples of embalming resin and bits of bandages he claimed had been taken from the mummy of Egypt's most famous pharaoh.

"If these elements are authentic, it would be a scandal that would risk harming relations between France and Egypt," said the fiery Hawass, who heads the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

"Let's wait for the findings of the investigation but if this proves to be true, I demand that all these elements be returned immediately. There is an international agreement between France and Egypt meant to prevent such things," he added.

Egypt-based archeologists and experts have said they believed the lock of hair and other samples displayed on the website (www.vivastreet.fr) could be authentic.

The seller said he could also supply photos and certificates proving the authenticity of the lot, which he claimed came into his possession from his father, who was part of a team of French scientists tasked with analysing the royal mummy some 30 years ago.

Ramses II's mummy, which is currently housed in Cairo's Egyptian Museum, was sent to Paris on September 12, 1976, for an examination of the cause of its deteriorating condition.

The deceased pharaoh, who reigned from 1279 to 1213 BC, was issued an Egyptian passport before being received in Paris, where experts treated the mummy for a fungal infection.

Once the treatment was successfully completed, Ramses II's body was sent back to Egypt. It was the first and last time that a mummy of similar importance had ventured beyond Egyptian soil.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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