Sunday 16 June 2013

Egypt - Artefact Hunters: "We only sell the real thing"

An Egyptian man holds three turquoise statues in a home
near looted tombs in the Abu Sir al Malaq necropolis
in Bani Suef, Egypt, Friday, May 3, 2013 (Photo by Shawn Baldwin)

Betsy Hiel has an interesting story from Abu Sir Malaq and its emptied ancient tombs  ('We only sell the real thing, Egyptian grave-robbing family boasts' Tribune-Review Saturday, June 15, 2013). She found one house where "looting appears to be a family business":
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an elderly man and his sons admit to digging into tombs at night, working with a spotlight and armed with weapons. They openly discuss grave-robbing while serving a meal of hard wheat rolls, homemade white cheese and hot tea. “You want to see a coffin? We have a coffin,” one son asks eagerly. He and the others say they store stolen artifacts in a plundered tomb. “No one would dare to take it,” says one of the men. The family elder claims to have an ancient statue, 3 feet tall. He sends a son to retrieve a sample of their loot — three turquoise funerary figurines, called shabti, 6 to 9 inches tall. He offers to sell each for 500 Egyptian pounds, about $74. The men seem surprised when a journalist isn't interested in buying, only in photographing the antiquities; when a camera appears, they nervously shrink against a wall. “We don't need fakes anymore,” the patriarch declares, making a final sales pitch. “We only work in originals.” 
The article carries a photo of the three Late Period shabtis, two made from the same mould. So, where - gentle reader - will you see these next? One day, perhaps very soon, they will surface on some dealer's website, where they will be described, simply, as "from a Connecticut/ New York/ German/ London/ -or-whatever collection" and most collectors would have no problems with buying them without asking any further questions.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.