Too Many People Have Stolen Egypt’s History

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tags: archaeology, Egypt



... Egypt is fighting back, with increased security, as well as political and diplomatic efforts to retrieve priceless objects that have been stolen, and are often displayed outside of its borders. The Ministry of State for Antiquities has a team that scours the web for objects illicitly for sale online and at auction houses and seeks to stop the sale and check for certification.

“If an auction house doesn’t have certification, it must be stolen from Egypt,” Abdel Gawad says. “Some auction houses and museums have started to negotiate with us, and sometimes they can repatriate objects by sending them back to Egypt.”

The nation is also getting help from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Last year at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit repatriated dozens of smuggled artifacts to Egypt as part of an ongoing investigation called “Operation Mummy’s Curse.” The probe targeted an international criminal network that illegally trafficked more than 7,000 cultural items from around the world. Some of the repatriated items include a Greco-Roman-style nesting sarcophagus found in a Brooklyn, N.Y., garage in 2009. As of 2015, Immigration and Customs had, since 2007, returned more than 7,800 objects to over 30 nations, including Egypt.




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