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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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Professor returns looted Ethiopian shield

Reuters 31 May 04

A Scottish professor has returned to Ethiopia a silver-decorated shield stolen from Emperor Tewodros 136 years ago by British troops, who made off with it and other treasures on 15 elephants and 200 mules.

the shield"Throughout my childhood the shield was hanging in the dining room of my parents' house," Fiona Wilson said on Sunday at a ceremony in which she handed over the shield to the Institute of Ethiopian Studies of the Addis Ababa University.

Wilson said her grandfather bought the buffalo-skin decorated in silver in the 1890s from a dealer and everyone believed it was Scottish.

"I discovered that I had become without realising it, the keeper of a small part of Ethiopia's historical heritage and national treasure and decided to return it", said Wilson, a professor of history and development studies at the University of Roskildo in Denmark.

The emperor's shield was among the spoils claimed by British troops after they stormed the mountain fortress of Emperor Tewodros II at Maqdala in 1868 to avenge the imprisonment of a group of British citizens.

They then loaded up 15 elephants and 200 mules with looted goods, a news report said at the time. The goods were auctioned off to raise money for British troops.

Much of the hoard, including gold crowns and more than 1,000 sacred manuscripts, ended up in British museums.

Some of the artefacts have been returned and the Association for the Return of Maqdala Ethiopian Treasures is negotiating for the repatriation of the rest.

Emperor Tewodros, the first in Ethiopia to try to unite the country, committed suicide rather than fall into British hands.

Also see

Ethiopia regains piece of heritage from a Scottish dining room
The Herald 01 June 04

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