British Museum investigated over Ethiopian artefacts hidden from view for 150 years

Watchdog examining claims key details have not been disclosed about altar tablets it is facing calls to return

The British Museum is being investigated by the information watchdog over claims it has been overly secretive about some of the most sensitive items in its collection – a group of sacred Ethiopian altar tablets that have been hidden from view at the museum for more than 150 years.

The 11 wood and stone tabots, which the museum acknowledges were looted by British soldiers after the Battle of Maqdala in 1868, have never been on public display and are considered to be so sacred that even the institution’s own curators and trustees are forbidden from examining them.

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