Antiquities and Archaeology Thefts News Egypt

French officials return Egyptian antiquities looted after Arab Spring

The objects were due to be sold online

Egypt's Minister of Antiquities, Mohamed Ibrahim, looks at the gilded wooden statue of Tutankhamun during an exhibition of restored archaeological work at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt in September 2013. Photo: EPA

Five antiquities looted and removed from Egypt after the Arab Spring uprising in 2011 have been returned by the French government to the Egyptian authorities. “Egyptian officials in charge of monitoring antiquities sales abroad spotted five Ptolemaic dynasty objects [323BC-30BC] for sale online, including two that were posted by a Toulouse-based auction house,” Ali Ahmed, an official at the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry, told the French newspaper Le Figaro. A head, torso and arm, which were part of a glass sculpture of a man, were among the stolen items.

All of the antiquities were taken from a storage area used by French archaeologists working in Egypt. In November, Israeli authorities seized 90 Egyptian artefacts consigned for sale at a Jerusalem auction house. Agence-France Presse says that the auctioneer failed to provide the necessary legal documentation regarding provenance and so the Israeli authorities banned the sale.

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