CAIRO: Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has recovered 16 historic artifacts from the US.
The recoveries came in coordination with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the office of the public prosecutor in New York.
The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said: “This comes within the framework of the highest priority given by the state to the file of recovering smuggled Egyptian antiquities and returning them to the homeland.”
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said investigations conducted in the US in three different cases had established that the recovered artifacts had been unlawfully taken out of the country.
Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, general supervisor of the Administration of Recovered Antiquities at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said among the recovered items were six artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum that were confiscated by the US attorney’s office in Manhattan, in a major case that involved smuggling a number of artifacts to the US and France. He added that investigations are continuing in France.
The six pieces from that case included a fragment of a wooden coffin covered with a layer of colored plaster depicting the face of a woman, a limestone panel with hieroglyphic inscriptions, a piece of linen decorated with colorful drawings, a bronze statue of a man kneeling, and a limestone shrine decorated with colorful inscriptions.
Investigations into nine other recovered antiquities that were discovered in the possession of an American businessman found that they were illegally held, as was the final piece, to a gold coin dating back to the Ptolemaic era.
The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said the items will be delivered to the Egyptian Consulate in New York within the next few days in preparation for their return to the homeland as soon as possible.