Our enlightened society now realize that articles should remain in their country of origin—unless individuals are greedy and underhanded. People are still trying to smuggle ancient pieces out of Egypt.
Recently, a battered pot found in Cornish garage is helping to unlock the secrets of an Egyptian excavation. The damaged pot was broken in antiquity, and then broken again and mended with superglue some 5,500 years later.
I love stories about ancient Egypt, in fact they play a part in my novels, which are set in Cornwall. The link is pure coincidence.
Back in the 1950s, the pot was accepted in lieu of a fare by a taxi driver in London. His family recently discovered the pot with a little printed card inside his garage in Cornwall. The Petrie Museum took an interest.
The pot sheds light on the work of archeologist Flinders Petrie whose finds were scattered across the world in the late 19th century.
Petrie, like his contemporaries, sent back tons of material from Egypt to universities and museums funding his excavations, and later sold a huge collection that became the basis of the Petrie Museum which boasts the finest collection of material from the region outside Egypt.
The Petrie Museum in London keeps meticulous records. Scientifically based excavations in the region transformed archaeology by means of a timeline still in use today. They sorted thousands of pots by date, enabling tombs, temples and entire towns to be dated from the fragments of broken pottery on the sites.
It was known that Petrie gave pieces to individuals, at a time when a visit to a celebrity archaeologist's dig was the highlight of any tourist or VIP trip down the Nile. The little label proves this was done on a systematic basis not previously guessed at.
After conservation work, the treasure from the Cornish garage will go on display next month, a scruffy star of the museum's Festival of Pots.
Now for the Cornish link to my ancient Egyptian star moonstone ring. I know you've been waiting to see what story I came up with. My research revealed a mysterious lady who arrived in Ireland shortly after King Tut's death. Many think it may have been Tutankarmoun's sister, Meritaten. Ireland and Cornwall are separated by a short trip over the sea. Egyptian ships brought goods to trade for Cornish tin back in those days. Liliha's forebears could have descended from the illustrious princess.
Many stories grow from a grain of truth.