Wednesday 26 November 2014

France to Return 239 Archaeological Artifacts to Egypt

France will return to Egypt 239 archaeological artifacts which were illegally smuggled out of the country, Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh al Damati said. Al Damati said in a statement that experts from the Louvre Museum had confirmed the authenticity of 239 of the 302 archaeological pieces illegally taken from Egypt to France. The Egyptian authorities have requested the return of the remaining 63 pieces for examination. [...]   the recovered pieces [...]  include wooden painted statuettes of sailors which were part of a funerary boat and a piece of limestone with drawings showing offerings to the god Osiris and the goddess Isis [...]  a number of amulets, pots made of stone and ceramic and a set of coins of the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic eras. 
If this report is taken at face value, it is interesting to note that even a group of objects apparently straight from the smugglers already contains an admixture of 20% fakes before it even reaches any dodgy dealer. The circumstances of the seizure are not given, nor is anything said about the fate of the person n whose possession they were found. I hope he or she is handed over to the Egyptians too, that'll teach them. Interestingly, while there may be legal grounds to seize smuggled ancient artefacts and give them back to Egypt, those laws will not apply to artefacts deemed fake. In most countries it is not illegal to export or import fakes - I am afraid if the Egyptian experts want to see if the Louvre experts know their stuff, they'll have to organize a weekend in Paris.

Luxor Times Blog 'Egypt will retrieve 239 artefacts from France in the next few days' November 25th 2014
'France to Return 239 Archaeological Artifacts to Egypt' Latin America Herald Tribune November 26, 2014

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