A number of seized artifacts by the Egyptian authorities before being smuggled abroad (photo: courtesy of Egypt's Tourism and Antiquities ministry)
Egypt has thwarted an attempt to smuggle artefacts hidden in parcels in a number of the country’s ports, a statement issued by the country’s tourism and antiquities ministry said on Monday.
The Egyptian customs authority confiscated 16 parcels containing a set of possible antiquities, replicas and moulds used to cast these replicas with the purpose of exporting them abroad.
An ad-hoc committee made of archaeology experts was formed specifically to inspect the parcels’ contents, the secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri said.
The committee found a collection of statue heads of individuals, kings and deities made of granite, basalt, and limestone dating back to different periods of ancient Egyptian history.
The artefacts included statue heads of the deity Amun and King Ramesses III, as well as part of a colourful head from a royal statue that was likely broken off during excavation.
The parcels also included four copper pieces ornamented with floral decorations and Arabic handwriting dating back to the Islamic age, as well as a plethora of ancient beads and faience amulets, Waziri added.