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AFROMET - The Association for the Return of The Maqdala Ethiopian TreasuresDetail from the amulet of Emperor Tewodros
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Second ancient relic returned to Ethiopia

BBC 22 November 2002

A sacred relic taken from an Ethiopian emperor by British troops 130 years ago has been returned to Addis Ababa.

A mystery British donor came forward with the amulet after learning that a Scottish church had already handed back another stolen artefact.

The amulet is a small, leather pouch, worn round the neck, containing a sacred parchment.

Most Ethiopians had thought it had been lost forever and its return is being hailed as a major victory by campaigners.

The amulet belonged to Emperor Theodore the Second.

He committed suicide when British troops invaded Ethiopia in 1867.

The relic was torn from his neck by the victors and ended up back in the UK.

Professor Richard Pankhurst is a leading campaigner for the Association for the Return of the Magdala Ethiopian treasure.

He says hundreds of precious manuscripts and religious artifacts were stolen in the 19th century.

Most of them are still in British museums and private collections.

Dr Pankhurst says they should all be returned.

The return of the amulet might never have happened if it had not been for a Scottish priest.

The Reverend John McLuckie, who was a missionary in Ethiopia, found a sacred tablet locked in a cupboard at the back of St John's Episcopal Church in Edinburgh.

It was a 400-year-old "tabot" - a replica of the Ark of the Covenant.

It was handed over to a delegation from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and returned to Ethiopia in February this year.

The next targets for repatriation are 10 tabots which are currently locked away at the British Museum.

The museum says its constitution prevents it from returning them.

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