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African Artefacts that the British Museum Needs to Return

The world’s oldest national public museum, has come under mounting pressure following the theft of more than 2,000 items earlier this month. While some items have subsequently been recovered, the thefts have raised questions about the safeguarding of objects at the museum and reignited discussions about the repatriation and restitution of objects housed there. The British Museum has admitted that it does not have complete records of the estimated eight million items in its collection. The oldest item is the Olduvai stone chopping tool, which is some 1.8 million years old, found in an early campsite in Tanzania. One of the most famous items at the British Museum is the Rosetta Stone. Part of a bigger slab, the stone has carved into it a decree in three different writings – Hieroglyphics (14 lines), Demotic-Egyptian script (32 lines) and Ancient Greek (54 lines). Officials from Egypt have been requesting the stone be given back to its country of origin ever since. Representatives of the Benin Royal Palace have made statements asking for the return of the bronzes and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Information and Culture also asked the British Museum to return items in 2021.