Tuesday 3 April 2012

The "Dubai Connection" Apparently Still Active

Nevine El-Aref, 'Two ancient Egyptian sarcophagus covers seized in Jerusalem', Al-Ahram Tuesday 3 Apr 2012 reports: 
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has seized two painted sarcophagi covers from a shop in the Old City of Jerusalem. According to a statement sen[t] out by the Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities, the two covers were stolen and illegally smuggled out of the country after being modified to look like replicas. They first travelled to Dubai, and then from there to Jerusalem. [...] The covers are now stored in a climate-controlled room at the IAA. Archaeologists have dated one to the 16th century and one to the 14th century BC, and are in good condition. Each lid is carved from wood and decorated with colourful religious scenes.
Those dates would be  XVIII dynasty (early Tuthmosid and somewhere about the middle of the period).  Another report ('Israel seizes sarcophagus lids stolen from Egypt', April 03, 2012 ) makes the dating a bit more clear (and also suggests that the Dubai connection is surmise):
 The Israel Antiquities Authority says inspectors have seized two stolen Egyptian sarcophagus covers at a bazaar in Jerusalem's Old city. The two plaster-covered wooden lids had been sawed in two, causing irreparable damage. The covers were adorned with decorations and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The authority says one dates between the 16th and 14th centuries B.C. and the other to between the 10th and 8th centuries B.C.
So where were they dug up, or are they part of the "missing two percent" it now transpires were stolen from storerooms? It would be highly interesting to know when they passed through Dubai, and through whose hands. Egyptian ministry officials have asked for the return of these artefacts. "Mohamed Ibrahim, the minister of state for antiquities, told Ahram Online that the ministry has sent an official letter to the Egyptian Embassy in Jerusalem to take all legal and diplomatic procedures to return both artefacts".

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