CAIRO - A toe belonging to the father of famed boy pharaoh Tutankhamun has been returned to Egypt nearly a century after it was stolen, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said on Wednesday.
The toe of King Akhenaton, which was stolen in 1907 during an examination of the pharaoh's bones, was returned during a signing ceremony for an agreement with Switzerland over the return of ancient artefacts, the council said.
"The toe is now back in Egypt and will be displayed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo," said the statement, which confirmed that it was from the skeleton of the pharaoh, which had been found in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.
The toe's movements since 1907 were not disclosed.
Frank Ruehli, a scientist at the University of Zurich and a specialist in mummies, obtained it "thanks to his personal contacts" in "another European country," a diplomat said without elaborating.
The return was thanks to the Ruehli's "private initiative" and not carried out by the Swiss government, which is the 16th country to sign the accord on stolen antiquities, the diplomat added.
Antiquities council chief Zaki Hawass said Switzerland's signature was particularly important as it had been a major transit point in the trade in smuggled artefacts in the past.
Earlier this month, Egypt hosted a conference of 25 countries that want stolen antiquities returned from abroad.
Akhenaton was a ruler of the 13th Dynasty. In February, Egypt announced that DNA tests had confirmed him to be the father of Tutankhamun, who died at the age of 19.
The antiquities council also announced that Egyptian archaeologists had discovered the tomb of a 19th Dynasty scribe, Qin Amin, in the Nile delta location of Tell El-Mashkouta.
Hawass said the more than 3,300-year-old tomb was the first from the 19th Dynasty found in the delta. It contained a limestone plaque inscribed with hieroglyphics of the Hyksos people, who invaded Egypt around 1,640 BC.
On a level above the scribe's tomb, the archaeologists also discovered 35 tombs dating from Roman times.