CAIRO: The Egyptian embassy in Berlin received Tuesday a 2,700 year-old statuette that was seized in a Germany-based auction house last year, the antiquities ministry announced in a press statement.
The 4.8 inch-high figurine was monitored on display at Aton Gallery for Egyptian Art in Oberhausen city west of Germany, said the Antiquities Ministry’s Restored Artifacts Department Shaaban Abdel Gawad.
“The figurine, along with dozens of other ancient Egyptian artifacts was stolen from the storerooms of the Antiquities Ministry in Aswan’s Elephantine Island, which were looted in 2013,” Abdel Ghaffar said.
The statuette, which is made of ivory, was unearthed by a Swiss archaeological mission that carried out excavations at Khnum Temple on the Elephantine Island in 2008. It dates back to the Late Period [(664B.C.-332 B.C.)], which ended with the conquest by Alexander the Great and establishment of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, he added.
“It represents an ordinary man standing and carrying an antelope over his shoulders,” according to Abdel Ghaffar.
After the statuette was monitored in the auction house, the Antiquities Ministry reported the case to the Interpol to carry out comprehensive investigations to verify how the artifacts left Egypt, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty was quoted by Youm7 in 2015.
“The ministry asked the Interpol to contact the auction house in order to show the artifact’s provenance. If it fails to prove ownership or show an export certificate, the ministry would take legal steps to get the artifacts back to Egypt,” said Damaty.
The artifact’s provenances is a document that trace an artifact’s chain of ownership back to its excavation, it is among the evidence required to prove Egypt’s legibility, said Aly.
Egypt’s ancient sites have been targeted for thousands of years but the upheavals and the security lapse following the 2011 revolution have helped looters and tomb robbers target museums and several archaeological sites for treasures to sell on the black market.