March 25, 2009

Egypt wants Pharaoh’s coffin returned

Posted at 1:46 pm in Similar cases

Egypt is going to issue a formal request for the return of a Pharoanic coffin that it believes was illegally removed from the country 125 years ago.

Gulfnews (UAE)

Egypt seeks return of pharaoh’s coffin from US
Published: March 23, 2009, 23:04

Cairo: Egypt will make an official request to the United States within a couple of days for the return of a Pharoanic coffin that was smuggled out of the country 125 years ago, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities said.

The North African nation is asking for the return of the wooden coffin, which is ornately painted with scenes and religious writing intended to help its occupant reach the afterlife, dating back 3,000 years to the 21st dynasty of the Pharaohs, the council’s chief Zahi Hawass said in a statement.

The coffin was seized by customs officials in Miami on February 26 when the American purchaser of the antique failed to provide sufficient paperwork proving ownership for the entry of the item, which was bought from a Spanish dealer. Egypt has sent authorities in Miami documents that prove that the piece exited the country illegally in 1884, the council said. Egypt formed a committee in 2007 to recover stolen antiques from its 5,000 year-old civilisation that are sold at auctions and found in museums around the world.

Hawass in 2003 demanded that the British Museum return the Rosetta Stone, the engravings Jean-Francois Champollion deciphered to break the code of hieroglyphics. The British Museum sent a replica to Egypt instead.

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