Two ancient Egyptian sarcophagus covers seized in Jerusalem

Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 3 Apr 2012

The smuggled artefacts were seized by the Israel antiquities authority at a shop in the old city of Jerusalem

Pharaonic-era mummies in brightly painted wooden coffins unearthed near Egypt's little-known Lahun pyramid in 2009 (Photo: Reuters)

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has seized two painted sarcophagi covers from a shop in the Old City of Jerusalem.

According to a statement send out by the Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities, the two covers were stolen and illegally smuggled out of the country after being modified to look like replicas.

They first travelled to Dubai, and then from there to Jerusalem. Egyptian ministry officials have asked for their return.

Mohamed Ibrahim, the minister of state for antiquities, told Ahram Online that the ministry has sent an official letter to the Egyptian Embassy in Jerusalem to take all legal and diplomatic procedures to return both artefacts.

The covers are now stored in a climate-controlled room at the IAA. Archaeologists have dated one to the 16th century and one to the 14th century BC, and are in good condition. Each lid is carved from wood and decorated with colourful religious scenes.

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