Germans and Egyptians in tug of war over Nefertiti

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In 1912, Ludwig Borchardt discovered a 3,400-year-old statue of Nefertiti, a queen of ancient Egypt, among ruins on the eastern bank of the Nile.

The German archaeologist shipped it home to Berlin, where it became the centerpiece of the antiquities collection at the Altes Museum. Now the blue, gold and terracotta bust is the focus of an international tug of war. After Germany refused to lend the statue to Egypt for a three-month exhibition, Egyptian officials said they may demand the statue be returned permanently.

``They were taken out by imperialism,'' says Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities in Cairo. ``Well, the days of imperialism are over.''

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