CAIRO: Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has said reports of alleged Pharaonic artifacts in Afghanistan’s Herat province will be investigated.
“If the antiquities are proven to be authentic, the (Egyptian) Ministry of Foreign Affairs will communicate with the competent authorities to provide us with the documents of ownership of all Egyptian antiquities, to study them and determine whether they came out of Egypt legally or not,” said a source at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, adding that if they left the country illegally, “work will be undertaken to recover them.”
Social media users circulated photos posted by Afghans of large coffins, a small sarcophagus, small wooden statues and other historical pieces in Herat.
An Afghan official said some of these artifacts are “fake and worthless,” the Bakhtar News Agency reported.
Mawlawi Abdul Hanan Hamid, a regional liaison officer, said a number of artifacts found in Herat and handed over to the National Museum of Afghanistan are fake, adding that smugglers are trying to trick people and earn money. He said 10 people have been arrested in connection with the case and are under investigation.
The director of the museum, Muhammad Fahim Rahimi, said three coffins and 48 statues are fake, but there are also valuable pieces from the 11th and 12th centuries.
He added that the valuables will be kept in the museum until a decision is made on the counterfeit artifacts.