CAIRO: The Antiquities Ministry announced in a statement Thursday it had received three artifacts that were repatriated through diplomatic efforts by the Foreign Ministry.
The three artifacts were illegally excavated from ancient Egyptian archaeological sites before they were smuggled to European countries, said Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al Damaty.
The objects will be stored at the antiquities ministry’s warehouse, will be restored in preparation for their display at the “recovered artifacts” exhibit at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, said Damaty.
Among the repatriated artifacts is a pre-dynastic (before 3,200 B.C.) vase that was seized by German customs in Stuttgart in 2014 before Freiburg Court has issued a ruling last month acknowledging Egypt’s liability in repatriating the vase, said the general supervisor of the Restored Artifacts Department Shaaban Abdel Gawad.
The second artifact is a 2,700 year-old statuette that was spotted last year at the Germany-based Aton Gallery for Egyptian Art in Oberhausen city west of Germany before it was delivered to the Egyptian Embassy in Berlin last month.
“It represents an ordinary man standing and carrying an antelope over his shoulders,” said Abdel Gawad.
“The 4.8 inch-high 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 Gawaa 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.)], he added.
The Third artifact is a Mameluk-era (1250-1517) lantern that was discovered last year by a London-based Egyptian archaeologist during an attempt to sell them to an antique collector.
According to Abdel Gawad, the lantern was stolen from the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC,) following the 2011 uprising.
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.
During the past four years, Egypt has recovered more than 1,600 artifacts and is currently working on other cases in many European countries, former head of the Repatriated Artifacts Department Aly Ahmed told The Cairo Post last year.