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US to return smuggled coffin to Egypt

An ancient coffin smuggled into the US many years ago is now due to be returned to Egypt.

Press TV [1]

US to return smuggled Egyptian coffin
Tue, 23 Feb 2010 16:59:34 GMT

Egyptian Culture Minister Faruq Hosni says his country will reclaim a Pharaonic coffin smuggled into the US more than 125 years ago.

Egypt’s antiquities chief Zahi Hawass will receive the ornately painted coffin next month, Hosni said in a statement.

The 3,000 year-old relic, bears inscriptions meant to help its occupant in the afterlife and contains the remains of a man named Emus, AFP reported.

Hawass said on Monday that the US Immigration and Customs had contacted him about the coffin in 2008, after confiscating it from a Spanish merchant who had shipped it to Florida for sale. Egypt asked the US to return the coffin in 2009.

“[The Spanish dealer] has no papers proving ownership of the coffin, which indicates the coffin left Egypt illegally,” Hawass said in a statement.

“An investigation by US authorities in Florida confirmed that [the Spaniard] has family ties with the special coordinator who owns the Egyptian museum in Barcelona,” he said.

Hawass also told AFP that no one appeared to own the coffin and that “It’s for the best that it returns to its original owners.”

Hawass began to recover Egyptian antiquities since he took the helm of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities in 2002.

The bust of Queen Nefertiti in Berlin’s Neues Museum and the Rosetta stone at London’s British Museum have been among his top priorities.