Can a 1924 document charging German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt with cheating to secure the Nefertiti bust for Germany guarantee its return to Egypt? Nevine El-Aref investigates
Bust of Queen Nefertiti
The conflict between Egypt and Germany over the 3,400-year-old iconic bust of Queen Nefertiti has again come to the fore following the discovery of a 1924 document revealing the mysterious story behind Germany's possession of the Nefertiti bust.
The latest edition of the German magazine Der Spiegel, published last week, contains a report that the German Oriental Association (DOG) had discovered a 1924 document claiming that Ludwig Borchardt, the discoverer of the Nefertiti bust, used a trick to smuggle the bust to Germany. According to the magazine, the document's authenticity is currently being analysed by experts.
The newspaper also said that the document was written by an eyewitness who claimed that Borchardt, who was keen on reserving the bust for Germany, intentionally disguised it by covering it with a layer of gypsum to ensure that the committee charged with supervising the distribution of new discoveries between Egypt and foreign mission would not see how beautiful the bust was or realise that it was actually made of exquisitely painted limestone.
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