Arrest warrant issued for suspects who created fake tomb in Upper Egypt to defraud antiquities traffickers

Habiba Hamdy , Saturday 18 Feb 2023

Egypt’s Public Prosecution issued an arrest warrant on Friday for a group of suspects who created a fake tomb in the Upper Egypt governorate of Beni Suef for the purpose of defrauding would-be antiquities traffickers.

 fake tomb


In a statement released on Friday, the prosecution explained that police personnel who were on duty Wednesday attempted to question a suspicious group of men in a pickup truck on a hillside in a desert area outside the historic El-Hayba town but the suspects fled the scene.

The prosecution said that at this point the police scoured the area and discovered a number of what appeared to be ancient Egyptian statues near a hole in the ground that was closed by a bolted metal gate.

It added that the police found that the hole, which was two metres deep, led them to a crypt with three chambers containing more statues, the prosecution added.

A committee formed by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, which examined the site, determined that the statues and inscriptions on the walls of the three chambers were recently created and not antiquities, the prosecution explained.

Based on the findings of an inquiry conducted by antiquities investigators, the prosecution said it concluded that the suspects, who were identified, created the fake tomb with the purpose of defrauding would-be antiquities traffickers.

El-Hayba is the modern name of the ancient Egyptian city of Tayu-djayet, meaning "their walls" in reference to the massive enclosure walls built on the site.

The town, which is 178 kilometres south of Cairo, was an important frontier fortress on the northern limits of the Theban region.

Beni Suef governorate is home to a rich arrays of tombs and other sites from various dynasties in ancient Egyptian history.

In 2018, in a major sting operation, police seized a large collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts found in the possession of two antiquities traffickers in the governorate.

Among the findings were several sarcophagi, small gold statues and busts as well as several ushabti statues. Police also found 5,450 coins from the Greco-Roman era.

In recent years, Egypt has passed legislation to impose tough prison sentences and hefty fines for the illegal excavation in historic sites as well as stealing and smuggling of artefacts.

Search Keywords:
Short link: