The Spanish government will return to Egypt eight items dating back to the time of the pharaohs - the 6th Dynasty, which lasted from 2374 B.C. to 2192 B.C., to be precise - and which had been taken illegally from the Arab country in 1999, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry announced Sunday.

The antiquities, which are of limestone, come from the tomb of Eimb Hur, one of the most important officials of the 6th Dynasty, and they are inscribed in hieroglyphics with the name and titles of the tomb's owner.

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The pieces were originally discovered in the Kom el-Khamsin zone in the ancient necropolis, or burial ground, of Saqqara near the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, located 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of modern-day Cairo.

According to the communique released Sunday by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, the date has not yet been set on which Spanish authorities will turn over the items to the Egyptian Embassy in Madrid.

The Egyptian government said that the agreement to recover the antiquities was reached after a series of legal and diplomatic contacts between the Egyptian diplomatic legation and Spanish judicial and governmental officials.

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Egypt's envoy to Spain, Ayman Zein el-Din, learned in September 2010 that police in Barcelona had seized eight ancient Egyptian artifacts that had been in the possession of antiquities smugglers, the statement said.

After going through the appropriate procedures in a case like this, the Egyptian Embassy on Saturday received a letter from the Spanish government in which the latter said that they agreed to hand over the items and requested that a date be set to do so, the communique added.

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