Egypt authorities foil massive artifact smuggling bid

Published November 5th, 2015 - 06:55 GMT

Egypt's archeological unit aborted the largest smuggling antiquities case from the country as a collection of 1124 artifacts was recovered at Damietta port before being smuggled to Thailand, Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty announced on Thursday.

He explained that the objects were hidden inside four wooden parcels filled with toilet paper. The parcels were to be shipped to Thailand through Damietta harbour.

Archaeologist Mohamed Etman, who inspected the objects, told Ahram Online that the committee he leads approved the authenticity of the objects that includes of a collection of ancient Egyptian and Graeco-Roman artifacts.

Among them, he said, was a collection of alabaster pots, wooden and stone statues, a collection of funerary masks, usabti figurines, offering tables, headrests and part of pillar. Until now, nobody knows from where these objects were stolen from but investigations will uncover the circumstances.

According to the antiquities law and its amendment, all the objects were confiscated by the police and sent to the Ministry of Antiquities. The whole case is now at the Prosecutor-General’s office for investigations.

By Nevine El-Aref

© Copyright Al-Ahram Publishing House

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