Four ancient Egyptian artefacts that had been smuggled out of Egypt years ago into Italy were on 8 May handed back to Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) at the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry.
Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, Supervisor of the SCA’s Antiquities Repatriation Department, said that the pieces handed to the SCA had been first received by the Egyptian Embassy in Italy.
The recovered pieces include part of a coffin lid carved in wood and decorated with rows of hieroglyphic text from the Late Period (664 – 332BC); it was seized in Oristano in 2017, Mr Abdel-Gawad said.
Among the recovered pieces are also a ceramic vase and a part of a statuette depicting a female figure from the Graeco-Roman period; seized in Genoa Port in 2018. The fourth piece is a 2.5cm tall Djed pillar handed by the Turin Museum to the Egyptian Embassy in Italy in November 2022, Mr Abdel-Gawad said.
The recovered pieces will be deposited in the stores of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, for necessary maintenance.
Mostafa Waziri, SCA Secretary General expressed his appreciation of the cooperation between both the Egyptian and the Italian authorities in recovering and repatriating the smuggled artefacts.
The four smuggled artefacts travelled home from Rome aboard Egypt’s national carrier Egyptair flight MS792. Yehia Zakariya, Egyptair Chairman said that the national carrier is happy to participate in the efforts of repatriating any smuggled Egyptian artefacts across the world, and to show seriousness and goodwill, Egyptair offers this service free of charge. Mr Zakariya commended the coordination between the Italian authorities, the Egyptian Embassy in Rome and the Egyptair office in Rome whose staff masterfully coordinated the shipping of the artefacts and provided all the necessary means of storage and protection to ensure a safe arrival of the artefacts.
8 May 2023
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