Looted Egyptian Artifacts Traced to Budapest and Paris

Saqqara pyramid of Djoser in Egypt. Photo: Charlesjsharp, via Wikimedia Commons.
Saqqara pyramid of Djoser in Egypt. Photo: Charlesjsharp, via Wikimedia Commons.

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities have tracked down five ancient looted Egyptian artifacts at a Budapest Museum and a Paris auction house, reports the Art Newspaper.

The objects are thought to have been stolen from the tomb in south Saqqara that was discovered in 2001 by the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology in Cairo. Unfortunately, in the years since, the site—the tomb of Hunefer, a priest at King Pepi I’s funerary temple—has been subject to illegal excavations, and numerous artifacts have gone missing.

Three of the looted artifacts have turned up at Budapest’s Museum of Fine Arts, which reopened its renovated Egyptian galleries in December. The institution’s website describes one of the pieces, a relief fragment, as a recent acquisition purchased from a London antiquities dealer last year, with “substantial state support.” The seller provided a provenance for the fragment that went up to 1974, and told the museum that the object left Egypt during the 19th or early-to-mid 20th century.

An unidentified Parisian auction house listed the other two artifacts in a recent catalogue.


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