Egypt recovers hundreds of artifacts smuggled to the US
Egypt said on Sunday it has recovered 123 ancient artifacts that had been smuggled outside the country and were later confiscated in New York.
Egypt’s major archaeological sites were targeted for looting after the 2011 uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.
Thousands of artifacts, most obtained from illicit digs, later surfaced on the international market, at auction and on websites.
The 123 artifacts to be returned were “illegally taken outside Egypt, and have been confiscated by the U.S. customs authority in New York,” Antiqui- ties Minister Mamdouh al-Damati said in a statement.
“Egypt proved its ownership of the artifacts and the United States has decided to return them.”
The items were on a ministry list of smuggled items, and include a group of colored coffins dating back to the 26th dynasty, a stele from the New Kingdom and several Greco-Roman coins.
Officials say the artifacts will be repatriated in the next few days.
Egypt has signed several agreements that enable it to reclaim such ancient pieces after proving their ownership and that they had been smuggled abroad.