Egyptian artefacts recovered after looting, now on show in Cairo
But the country’s heritage remains at risk
By Garry Shaw. Web only
Published online: 22 May 2014
Around 200 stolen artefacts, recovered since Egypt’s 2011 revolution, are now on show at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo in an exhibition that runs for three months. Most of the objects were recovered abroad, while some 60 were seized in Egypt before they could leave the country.
Among those recently recovered are ten pieces stolen from the Egyptian Museum in January 2011, including a small gilded statue of Tutankhamun and shabti figurines. These were returned to the museum at the end of April after a police officer, working undercover as an antiquities buyer, organised a meeting with an alleged looter, who was subsequently arrested. According to Ahram Weekly, of the 54 antiquities stolen from the Egyptian Museum, only ten remain missing.
A statue of an Amarna princess, and other objects stolen from the Malawi Museum in Minya last year, are also on display, and will be returned to Minya once the exhibition closes.
Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities have announced that a permanent exhibition of antiquities will be installed at Cairo Airport as the first in a series of displays across the country. At the same time, discussions are underway to open a temporary exhibition at the Sinai beach resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Egypt's head of antiquities, Mohamed Ibrahim, hopes that both exhibitions will help to promote tourism to the country, which has suffered because of recent violence.
Despite these positive moves, Egypt’s heritage continues to be threatened. According to the Cairo Post, a sixth Dynasty tomb at Giza was broken into in early May. A potential looter was able to dig into one of the tomb’s burial shafts but did not get away with any artefacts. And much of the archaeological site of Tarkhan, around 65km south of Cairo, has reportedly suffered from encroachment, with modern tombs, houses and farmland endangering the ancient ruins.
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