CAIRO: Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities will receive Tuesday two smuggled artifacts from Austria and Germany, announced Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty Monday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with Interpol, reclaimed an Ushbati dating back to the 26th Dynasty; it was seized by the Interpol police when two Australians attempted to sell it, al-Damaty added.
The second reclaimed artifact is a stele from the Luxor-based tomb of King Wahankh Intef II; this artifact was displayed at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Damaty added, noted at the stele is schedule to be exhibited at Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM).
The GEM, sited on 120 acres of land, is located 2 km southwest of Giza Pyramids and was scheduled to be inaugurated in August 2015 but due to funding issues, it will not be inaugurated before 2018, al-Damaty has previously stated.
The artifacts spanned several eras of ancient Egyptian civilization and were likely stolen from the west bank of Luxor, the head of the Antiquities Ministry’s Restored Artifacts Department Ali Ahmed previously told The Cairo Post.
Political turmoil in Egypt since the January 25 Revolution in 2011 and the subsequent security lapse left the country’s cultural heritage vulnerable to looting. In spite of the efforts of the Egyptian government in tracking artifacts smuggled outside Egypt and in auction houses abroad, the issue is still unsettled.
Additional reporting by Rany Mostafa.