US returns stolen sarcophagus to Egypt
The sarcophagus has long been on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science after being looted and smuggled years prior.
One of the largest wooden Pharaonic sarcophagi ever discovered, illegally taken from Egypt and displayed until recently in a US museum, has been returned Monday in Cairo, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri announced.
There are two kinds of sarcophagi: those of royal remains and those of noble remains, this one belonged to a noble, said Mostafa Waziri, director of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
MM. Choukri and Waziri were speaking at a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs broadcast on television.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri and Chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri inspect an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus retrieved from the United States.
The 2.94 meter long and 90 centimeter wide sarcophagus, with its face painted green, dates from the late Pharaonic period, almost 2700 years ago, and was was discovered in central Egypt.
In a decade, Cairo has managed to recover more than 29,000 pieces of antiquities stolen and then resold outside Egypt.
In addition to these returns, Egypt has also announced several major discoveries in recent months, mainly in the Saqqara necropolis, south of Cairo.
She has unveiled over 300 sarcophagi and 150 bronze statues in 2021 and 2022, many dating back over 3,000 years.
Sarcophagi around 2500 years old discovered near the Saqqara necropolis were displayed in Giza, May 30, 2022.
< p class="e-p">Egypt is counting on these new discoveries to revive tourism, hit hard by COVID-19.
This sector, which employs 2 million people and generates more than 10% of GDP, has been in decline since the Arab Spring in 2011.
The Egyptian authorities have been promising for months the imminent opening of its Grand Egyptian Museum, near the Giza plateau, without so far having a date for its inauguration.
Many predicted this one in 2022, for the bicentenary of the decipherment of the Rosetta stone by the Frenchman Jean-François Champollion and the centenary of the discovery of the tomb of the tomb of the Rosetta. child-pharaoh Tutankhamun.