Tourism police foils an attempt to sell 1,774 illegally excavated artifacts
Artifacts are seen on display at the Egyptian museum - AFP
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CAIRO: The Tourism and Antiquities Police have recovered a set of 1,774 ancient artifacts following six-hour armed clashes with illicit antiquities dealers in Upper Egypt’s governorate of Beni Suef, Youm7 reported Thursday.

The artifacts, spanning several periods of the Egyptian history, comprise several alabaster jars, wooden masks, offering tables made of granite, canopic jars , silver and golden headrests and funerary masks.

Investigations carried out by policemen from the General Administration of Tourism and Antiquities Police revealed that three peasants were planning to sell a collection of artifacts obtained through illicit digging activities near their farmland.

After issuing the arrest warrant, the police raided the residence of the dealers and were able to arrest them and seize the artifacts, Youm7 reported. The authenticity of the artifact was confirmed by a committee of specialists.

Egypt’s political turmoil since the January 25 Revolution in 2011 and its consequent security lapse left the country’s cultural heritage vulnerable to looting.

During the past four years, Egypt has recovered more than 1,600 artifacts and is currently working on other cases in many European countries, head of the Repatriated Artifacts Department Aly Ahmed previously told The Cairo Post.

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