Antiquities and Archaeology News Egypt

Egypt tracks down suspected looted works to Europe

Three artefacts allegedly stolen from a tomb in Saqqara are now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, while the other two have been listed in a Paris auction catalogue

A relief fragment from the tomb of Hunefer was acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest

Five ancient Egyptian artefacts, allegedly stolen from the same tomb in south Saqqara sometime during the past 13 years, have been located in Budapest and Paris, reports Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities.

Three of the looted artefacts are now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, Hungary, the ministry says. One of these pieces, a relief fragment, is listed on the museum’s website as a new acquisition for its revamped Egyptian galleries that opened in December 2013. The museum says it purchased the artifact through a London antiquities dealer in 2013, with “substantial state support”. The museum believed that the fragment had been in Europe “for a long time and was presumably brought from Egypt during the 19th century or in the first half of the 20th”. The Ministry of Antiquities says that the museum was provided with a history for the piece up to 1974.

The remaining two artefacts have been tracked to Paris, the ministry says, where they were included in the catalogue of an unnamed auction house.

The tomb, which belongs to a priest named Hunefer who served at the funerary temple of King Pepi I, was discovered in 2001 by a team from the French archaeological institute in Cairo. The institute has reportedly confirmed that the pieces went missing from Saqqara as a result of illegal excavations.

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