Germany Returns Ancient Sphinx to Turkey

Posted July 28th, 2011 at 7:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Germany has returned an ancient sphinx to Turkey, ending years of squabbling over the valuable sculpture.

Turkish officials say the 3,500-year-old figure of a lion's body with a human head will be returned to its home in Hattusha in Turkish Anatolia after nearly a century-long absence.

The sphinx was unearthed by German archeologists in the early 20th century and sent to Germany along with some other Hattusha artifacts. It has been a part of Berlin's Pergamon Museum collection since 1934.

Turkey's Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay led the effort to have it returned to Turkey.

Hattusha was the capital of the ancient Hittite empire, which included much of Anatolia, north-western Syria and Mesopotamia, and reached its height around the 14th century BC. Its Bronze Age settlement was hidden under the earth for millennia until it was rediscovered in the 19th century.

Hattusha is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.