The Spanish police prevented hundreds of ancient Egyptian artefacts from being smuggled into Europe on Wednesday.
Agents discovered the artefacts hidden in cheap vases during an inspection of a shipping container in provenance from Alexandria at the port of Valencia, on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, according to AFP. The inspection was part of a broader European crackdown on looting and illicit trafficking of cultural objects.
The recovered artefacts include two canopic jars, vessels used by ancient Egyptians to preserve a vital organ of a newly-mummified individuals, a statue of the goddess Isis, a black granite bust of goddess Sekhmet, and a limestone head of god Amun. A collection of alabaster and clay vases, as well as a collection of bronze and limestone statuettes, were also found.
The Spanish police has arrested Spaniards and Egyptians as part of the investigation.
The objects are now in Madrid's National Archeological Museum pending transportation back to Egypt.