CAIRO — Egypt’s top archaeologist has formally requested the return of the 3,300-year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti that has been in a Berlin museum for decades, the latest move in his eight-year-old campaign to bring home ancient artifacts spirited out of the country during colonial times.

The bust dates back to the time of the 14th century B.C. queen and tops Egypt’s wish list of artifacts that Zahi Hawass wants to see back home. The bust is currently at Berlin’s Neues Museum.

“I am doing something that I believe in and that should have been done 100 years ago,” Hawass said. “My campaign has united those who have been pillaged against the pillagers. It’s the world’s greatest campaign of its kind and has inspired many nations to follow suit.”

Hawass, whose Indiana Jones hat has made him an instantly recognizable world figure, said his campaign has returned some 5,000 artifacts to Egypt from museums and private collections the world over since its launch in 2002.

His request for the Nefertiti bust, he added, was officially made after the approval of Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and Culture Minister Farouq Hosny.

Germany said Monday that Cairo needed to use different channels for a formal request.