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Trove of antiquity artefacts captured before smuggling

Mervat Ayad

24 Aug 2014 10:31 am

An attempt to smuggle 98 pieces of antiquity outside Egypt has been thwarted by the harbour antiquity police in the Mediterranean port of Dumyat (Damietta). The trove included artefacts which belonged to Egypt’s Alawites, the monarchs who ruled Egypt from 1805 till 1953.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh al-Damati said the artefacts were included in a parcel that was being shipped to the United States. He said that the committee formed to investigate the artefacts has pronounced them authentic; meaning they should be legally confiscated by the Ministry of Antiquities and, following necessary repair or restoration work, placed in the adequate museum. Egyptian law defines anything older than 100 years as antiquity.

According to Ahmed al-Rawi, head of the central administration of border antiquity police, the trove captured included among other artefacts two gold plated columns decorated with floral designs, two gold plated column capitals in the shape of lanterns, and two wooden wall hangings with the banner of the Alawites—a crescent embracing three stars—in the centre and a crown on top. There was also an oval mirror in a wooden frame with floral decorations, 32 metal lanterns a number of which were rusted, a round metal table decorated with floral and geometric designs, and 18 pieces of various sized and decorated metal worked artefacts.

The founder of the Alawite Dynasty was the Albanian origin army officer Muhammad Ali who became Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt in 1805, and is widely accepted to be the founder of modern Egypt. His sons ascended the throne of Egypt and continued as monarchs even after the Ottoman Empire fell after WWI and the British held control over Egypt as a British protectorate. In 1952, a revolution erupted and put an end to the monarchy one year later.

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Watani International
24 August 2014


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