US Returns Ancient Egyptian Sarcophagus to Egypt After Years of Investigation

Green coffin, an ancient egyptian sarcophagus that dates back to the late dynastic period, has been returned to egypt. the 2.9m (9.5ft) long relic belonged to a priest named ankhenmaat and had been looted from the abu sir necropolis in north egypt by a global art trafficking network. it was smuggled through germany into the us in 2008 and was loaned to the houston museum of natural science in 2013.

Repatriation took place at a ceremony in cairo on monday, which was attended by egypt’s foreign minister sameh shoukry and tourism and antiquities minister ahmed issa. the event followed an investigation that lasted several years, and was formally handed over by us diplomats. in september, manhattan district attorney alvin bragg revealed that the green coffin, which was valued at over $1m (â£830,000), had been illegally trafficked out of egypt.

Network was also responsible for trafficking the “gold coffin”, the stele of pa-di-sena, and five pieces seized from new york’s metropolitan museum of art. in 2021, israel handed over 95 relics which had been smuggled into the country or found for sale in jerusalem. the us chargã© d’affaires in egypt, daniel rubinstein, said that the return of the sarcophagus showed egypt’s strenuous efforts to recover smuggled artefacts. the trafficking of the green coffin and other antiquities was done in order to make a profit from their sale.

By Evey Lovelace

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