Police thwart attempt to smuggle Egyptian antiquities
Antiquities - YOUM7 (Archive)
By RANY MOSTAFA

CAIRO: The Harbor Police Department at Egypt’s Delta governorate of Damietta thwarted an attempt to smuggle 98 artifacts in two containers Thursday to the U.S., head of the Archaeological Unit for Confiscated Antiquities (AUCA) Ahmed el-Rawy told The Cairo Post Thursday.

“The customs administrators suspected the two containers, which belonged to an import-export company. After opening them, police found several antiques including coins, wooden crafts, mirrors, and lanterns,” Rawy said. The provisions of the antiquities protection law 117 of 1973 were applied.

Amongst the seized artifacts are two gold-pleated wooden pillars adorned with floral motifs, two wooden frames carved with the royal family theme; three stars surrounded by a crescent, and two wooden consuls with a gold-pleated frame, Rawy said.

“The law orders the confiscation of the recovered artifacts to deliver them to the Ministry of Antiques, filing a lawsuit against the sender, and the recipient of the parcel,” he said and that the AUCA informed the ministry about the incident.

Candlesticks, silver lanterns, side tables, chandeliers, incense burners, and jewelry were also found in the parcel, wooden and metal sconces.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh al-Damaty said the seized artifacts belonged to the Mohamed Ali dynasty (1805-1952) and were examined by an antiquities committee before their origins were proven, Al-Watan reported Thursday.

The artifacts will be restored to be put on display at the temporary exhibition of recovered artifacts at the Egyptian Museum, Damaty said.

Since the outbreak of the January 25 Revolution in 2011 and its consequent security lapse across Egypt, the Tourism and Antiquities Police, in coordination with Cairo Airport authorities, thwarted several attempts to smuggle ancient Egyptian antiquities out of the country.

In June, Egypt requested to join the U.S. agreement, signed with 16 world nations, that allows American Immigration and Homeland Security Department to take legal measures regarding smuggling of antiquities, according to MENA.

Former Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim said the majority of participants in the Congress’ Commission of Fine Arts session endorsed demands to have Egypt join the U.S. agreement.

The request was only rejected by three people who objected considering ancient coins as banned.

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