Egyptian ministries working to get back stolen cartonnage
Artefact stolen at Saqqara during security breakdown after January 2011 revolution and eventually ended up in hands of French citizen, who now wants to give it back to Egypt
, Sunday 6 Apr 2014
Representatives from Egypt's ministries of antiquities and foreign affairs will meet on Wednesday with the lawyer of a French citizen to discuss the return of a piece of cartonnage that was stolen and illegally smuggled out of the country.
Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online that the piece in question is 19-cm tall and shows a part of an ancient Egyptian coffin inscribed with three hieroglyphic lines depicting the different titles of the deceased.
Ibrahim explained that the piece was stolen from the store gallery of the Louvre mission at Saqqara archaeological site during the security vacuum that followed the January 2011 revolution.
Ali Ahmed, head of the antiquities ministry's section for retrieving stolen artefacts, said that the ministry knew in February that the cartonnage piece was in the possession of a French citizen who was selling it by auction.
The ministry then took all the required procedures to return the piece to Egypt.
Although the French citizen has all the needed documents to prove he owns the artefact, he said he was willing to give it back to Egypt in appreciation of the country's effort to protect its heritage.