One of the seized artifacts – Press photo/Antiquities Ministry One of the seized artifacts – Press photo/Antiquities Ministry

In pics: Egyptian artifacts seized in Italy likely authentic: Min.

Thu, May. 24, 2018
CAIRO – 24 May 2018: The preliminary examination of the 118 Egyptian artifacts seized last March in Naples, Italy, along with artifacts from other countries, suggested that the seized pieces are historic antiquities.

The Italian police notified the Egyptian Embassy in Rome on March 14 about the seizure of 23,700 artifacts, including 118 Egyptian pieces packed in parcels, according to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid.

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One of the seized artifacts – Press photo/Antiquities Ministry


Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry’s Repatriation Department said that examination of the seized artifacts' photos sent by the Italian authorities suggested they are authentic antiquities, adding that the two countries cooperate to return the seized pieces to Egypt.

The seized artifacts include objects from different pharaonic periods, in addition to objects from the Islamic era, according to a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.

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One of the seized artifacts – Press photo/Antiquities Ministry


Abdel Gawad said that the artifacts were not looted from museums; it seems that they were illegally taken from excavation sites. He added that the two countries would conduct a joint investigation to uncover the circumstances of the smuggling operation and arrest perpetrators.

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One of the seized artifacts – Press photo/Antiquities Ministry


Many Egyptian antiquities were smuggled in the aftermath of Egypt's2011 revolution amid the security vacuum, while others were stolen during the unrest in 2013.

Egypt managed to retrieve over 500 artifacts from abroad in 2016, Abdel Gawad previously stated.

Parliament's Media, Culture and Antiquities Committee prepared a report earlier in 2018 on an amendment to the antiquities protection law proposed by the government to toughen punishment for smuggling antiquities up to a life sentence and a fine up to LE 10 million (about $0.56 million).
 
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