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British Museum Recovers Hundreds of Stolen Artifacts

Museum Chairman Hails 'Remarkable Result'

LONDON – The British Museum has announced that it has recovered 626 objects that were either missing or stolen from its collection.

The museum announced in February that it had recovered around 350 objects, from the over 1,500 identified as lost or stolen last summer. On Friday, the museum said it was currently pursuing new leads for around 100 other objects, and that pieces had been found in Europe and North America.

The British Museum scandal broke last August when the institution announced that a staff member, later identified as senior curator Peter Higgs, had been fired after thousands of items were discovered to be missing or stolen. The thefts allegedly occurred over the course of 30 years, with many items sold for a fraction of their worth on the ecommerce website eBay.

As a result of the extent of the thefts, director Hartwig Fischer and deputy director Jonathan Williams stepped down. There are plans for a complete documentation of the museum’s collection in five years at a cost of \$12.1 million. There have also been renewed calls for the repatriation of items such as the Benin Bronzes and the Parthenon Marbles from Nigerian and Greek officials.

In a statement, George Osborne, the chairman of the museum trustees, said: “Few expected to see this day … we’ve achieved a remarkable result: more than 600 of the objects are back with us, and a further 100 have been identified – in total almost half the stolen items that we could recover.”