CAIRO: The Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) will return two ancient Egyptian sarcophagi lids that were looted and brought to Israel during the 2011 uprising, Youm7 reported Sunday citing Israel’s state broadcasting network.
The two wooden lids in question are to be handed over to the Egyptian Ambassador to Tel Aviv Hazim Khairat Sunday at the Foreign Ministry headquarters in presence of Israeli officials.
“The move comes following coordination between officials from the Egyptian and Israeli foreign and antiquities ministries,” General Supervisor of the Repatriated Antiquities Department, Shaban Abdel Gawad told The Cairo Post Sunday.
After realizing the two lids were stolen from Egypt, the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry has submitted an official request to the Israeli authorities to return the stolen lids, said Abdel Gawad.
On suspicion of being stolen property, the lids were seized in 2012 by inspectors from the Israeli Antiquities Robbery Prevention Unit during an inspection in market shops in Jerusalem’s Old City, according to the IAA.
Their authentications were confirmed after a radial carbon test carried out by the IAA before they were preserved in the IAA laboratories.
The test of the two lids, which were sawed in half to facilitate smuggling, showed that they date back about 3,000 years, said Abdel Gawad.
The security lapse that followed the January 25 Revolution in 2011 left the country’s cultural heritage vulnerable to looting.
The Repatriated Antiquities Department was established in 2002 with the aim of safeguarding Egypt’s heritage, and repatriating the stolen artifacts that have been taken from illicit digging which, according to Abdel Gawad, increased dramatically after the political upheaval of 2011.
During the past five years, Egypt has recovered more than 1,600 artifacts and is currently working on other cases in many European countries, he added