Inventory reveals eight artifacts are missing from Egyptian museum

Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 13 Feb 2011

A comprehensive inventory to examine the Egyptian museum’s collection after the break-in during Egypt’s uprising reveals eight artifacts are missing

King Akhnaten
King Akhnaten holding an offering table

These objects are two gilded wooden statues depicting the 19th dynasty pharaoh Tutankhamun.  One shows the boy-king being carried by a goddess and the other he is portrayed with a harpoon. The torso and upper part of the latter statue are the only missing parts.

A limestone statue of his father Akhenaton holding an offering table; a statue showing Akhenaton's wife, Nefertiti making offerings; a sandstone head of an unidentified Amarna princess; a stone statuette of an Amarna scribe as well as a heart-shaped scarab belonging to Tutankhamun's grandfather Yuya, and eleven of his ushabti figurines are also among the missing objects.

“I am really very sad of the disappearance of these objects,” Minister of State for Antiquities Zahi Hawass told Ahram Online.

He announced that an investigation to find the criminals who stole these objects has already begun. At the same time, the police and army plan to follow-up with the thieves who were caught red-handed on January 28th and are now in custody. 

In another terrible turn of events, Hawass said that last night a storehouse in the Dahshour necropolis, called De-Morgan, and was broken into. The store contains large blocks and small artifacts.

But Hawass did have some good news. Five more objects, stolen from the Qantara East storage facility in Sinai, have been found in the desert by the police. “It seems that these objects were dropped by the thieves while escaping,” he said.

At present, he continued, 293 objects have been returned to the Qantara East store but the ministry will not be able to assess the number of stolen objects until the current situation calms down.  A committee has now been formed to take an inventory of the contents of the warehouse.

“I believe that it will be impossible for the people who stole the objects to sell them. No museum or private collector will buy Egyptian antiquities now, they will be too scared. I am very happy that my calls for the return of these objects on television and in the newspapers have been so successful. “

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