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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 25) – A lawsuit brought against the Papua New Guinea National Museum by a tribe in Enga Province is seeking PGK1 billion [US$350 million] in damages for the loss of a 3,500-year-old artifact - the Ambum Stone.

Michael Mangal, on behalf of the Kunalini tribe in the Kompiam/Abum district of Enga Province, filed the case in 2002 against the national museum for losing the stone - a carving of a foetal echidna. The case is to be heard next month.

Mangal claimed the stone carving went missing while in the national museum in Port Moresby and that was why the Kunalini tribe was filing the case for the museum to find the carving or compensate for the loss.

However, the acting director of national museum and art gallery Simon Poraituk said the Ambum Stone and other artefacts were priceless. He confirmed that the case was before the court.

There were four Ambum Stone carving in the Kunalini tribe but on was illegally smuggled out of the country in 1962 by an English artifacts dealer. The Australian National art gallery bought this carving in the 1977.

The Papua New Guinean National museum and art gallery were given the offer ahead of Australian In a report in the Australian GeoScience news, it was stated that the Ambum Stone is 3,500 years old (1508-1548 BC) carved just after the Egyptian pyramids were built.

April 26,2006

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