The Tourism and Antiquities Police in Saqqara caught four criminals red-handed as they attempted to sell a sarcophagus.
Ayman Ashmawi, head of the Ancient Egyptian antiquities department at the ministry, said that the criminals were trying to sell the sarcophagus for EGP 250,000.
An archaeological committee from the Ministry of Antiquities was then formed to examine the sarcophagus and inspect its authenticity, he said.
Ashmawi said that the committee confirmed that the sarcophagus housed a mummy and it could be dated back to the Ptolemaic era or the Late Period, and it had not been stolen from the ministry’s storage or museums.
It has an anthropoid lid with the face of a woman wearing a wig and its lower part is painted with different ancient Egyptian scenes depicting the winged god Horus and the mummification process.
A hieroglyphic text is also carved on the lid, while both sides of the sarcophagus itself are adorned: a snake wearing the crown of Lower Egypt on the right side, and the crown of Upper Egypt on the left side, as a symbol of protection.
The sarcophagus is now being held for research and restoration.