Friday, January 27, 2023

America returns to Egypt looted grave years ago

An ancient wooden coffin at the Houston Museum of Natural Science has been returned to Egypt after it was determined by US authorities, Egyptian officials said Monday.

The repatriation of the piece is part of the Egyptian government’s actions to stop the smuggling of antiquities stolen from the country. In 2021, the Cairo authorities managed to return to Egypt 5,300 looted artifacts that were in various countries.

Mustafa Vaziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the sarcophagus dates to the Late Dynastic period of ancient Egypt, the era from the last Pharaonic rulers in 664 BC to the campaigns of Alexander the Great in 332 BC.

Vaziri said the sarcophagus, which is about 3 m (9.5 ft) high and has a brightly colored surface, may have belonged to an ancient priestess named Ankhenamat, although part of the inscription on it has been erased.

The US charge d’affaires in Egypt, Daniel Rubinstein, symbolically handed over the artifacts during a ceremony in Cairo on Monday.

The handover came more than three months after the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office determined that the sarcophagus had been looted from the Abu Sar necropolis north of Cairo. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. According to Bragg, in 2008 it was smuggled into Germany and from there to the United States.

“This impressive sarcophagus was smuggled by a well-organized network that has robbed countless antiquities from the region,” Bragg said. “We are pleased that this object has been returned to Egypt, where it rightfully belongs.”

According to prosecutors, the same network smuggled a gold sarcophagus looted from Egypt and displayed at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The Met bought the piece in 2017 for $4 million from an art dealer in Paris. It was returned to Egypt in 2019.

Nation World News Desk
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