France Returns 250 Smuggled Ancient Artifacts to Egypt
Two hundred and fifty ancient Egyptian artifacts that had been smuggled to France have been returned by the French government to the Egyptian embassy in Paris, Art Daily reports.
The hoard was seized by French customs officials at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport in November and March 2010.
Items such as amulets, rings, statues, and pitchers were found in the luggage of tourists returning from Cairo. The artworks were sent to Paris’s Louvre Museum for analysis, where experts confirmed their authenticity. According to LAHT, the Egyptian Minister of Antiquities, Mamdouh al Damati revealed in a statement that most of the items date from various Pharaonic eras as far back as 2000 BC. Other items date from the Roman, Byzantine, and Medieval ages.
A spokesperson for the French Customs office said that the latest incident was the third time this year that the government had returned smuggled cultural items to their respective countries of origin. LAHT reported that in response, al Damati and the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities are preparing a proposal, and hope to reach an agreement with France to fight antiquity smuggling, which has significantly increased in recent years (see “Stolen Fragments of Great Pyramid Return to Egypt”), (“Looted Egyptian Artifacts Traced to Budapest and Paris”).
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