CAIRO: Authorities at Cairo International Airport foiled Sunday an attempt to smuggle 44 manuscripts of the “Description de l’Égypte” publication found in mail parcels bound for Kuwait, Al-Ahram reported.
The manuscripts were confiscated and are being delivered to the Ministry of Antiques, head of the central administration of the Archaeological Unit for Confiscated Antiquities (AUCA), Mohamed al-Shahat said.
Customs administrators suspected seven parcels and opened them to find the manuscripts, said Shahat who added that a legal complaint has been filed against the sender of the parcels, whose name was written on them.
“An archaeological committee including officials from airport antiquity authorities and the Antiquities Ministry have examined the contents of the parcels and confirmed their authenticity,” Shahat added.
Since the outbreak of the January 25 Revolution in 2011 and the consequent security lapse across Egypt, the Tourism and Antiquities Police, in coordination with Cairo airport’s authorities, thwarted several attempts to smuggle ancient Egyptian antiquities.
The “Description de l’Egypte”, which translates to “Description of Egypt” is a colossal work that was completed under the supervision of Napoleon during the French expedition to Egypt (1798-1801.), former head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Abdel Halim Nour el-Din told The Cairo Post.
It was the earliest published series to offer a comprehensive scientific description of Egypt’s history and culture, said Nour el-Din.
“Over 160 French civilian scholars and scientists from the Institute De France, along with 2000 artists and technicians that accompanied Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt, have participated in the completion of the series,” he added
Several handwritten manuscripts of this colossal work has been destroyed in the fire that consumed the Institute of Egypt during clashes between protestors and military forces in December 2011.