Ooops.. Maybe We Don't Want It Back.....

On Antiques Roadshow we all wait for that great story we can tell about an object that has been undiscovered or lost from view. A bust of Queen Nefertiti, believed to be over 3400 years old had been on view at Berlin's Altes Museum. It was at the center of a big dispute with the Egyptian government who wanted this pristine complete bust returned as an important part of their cultural patrimony. Unfortunately, there was some very critical information that was missed by the very prestigious and highly acclaimed Egyptian scholars. The piece was commissioned by Germany archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt in 1912 at the site of the dig. When a German prince admired the work when he was visiting the site the same year Borchardt did not wish to embarrass the man and gave him the bust. The prince proudly displayed Nefertiti in his study for ten years until 1923 when it went on public display at the museum. That also marked the beginning of the dispute with Egypt. Swiss art historian Henri Stierlin is a noted scholar in this area and has just completed a book outlining the story and the results of his research. Stierlin noted some critical differences in the carving of the figure and in the timeline of its "discovery". It was significant that none of the French archaeologists on site even mentioned what would have been an extremely important find. It will remain in Germany where undoubtedly the story will attract more visitors than maybe even the real thing might have.