1. The gilded coffin of the Late Ptolemaic priest Nedjemankh has now returned home and is on show in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation in Fustat (Cairo). Wikimedia.


Mummies lost and found in Egypt

The golden coffin of the Ancient Egyptian priest Nedjemankh (1 and 2) arrived back in Egypt after the successful efforts to repatriate it from the Metropolitan Museum in New York paid off. The coffin is covered in a layer of gold inscribed with the name of Nedjemankh, a high-ranking priest of the ram god Heryshef of Herakleopolis from the late Ptolemaic period (150–50 BC). Now it is on display for the first time in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC) in Fustat (Cairo).

The gilded coffin is believed to have been taken out of Egypt illegally in 2011 and was offered to the Metropolitan Museum six years later by an antiquities dealer who held a forged 1971 Egyptian export license. The museum paid about $3.95million for it. Then, last February, the New York District Attorney's Office presented the museum with evidence that it had been stolen in 2011 and that its alleged ownership was fraudulent. The coffin, which was on show in a special exhibition, entitled Nedjemankh and His Gilded Coffin, was withdrawn and handed over to the Antiquities Repatriation Department of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.



2. The gilded coffin of the Late Ptolemaic priest Nedjemankh has now returned home and is on show in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation in Fustat (Cairo). Wikimedia.


Minister of Antiquities, Dr Khaled El-Enany expressed his gratitude to all the ambassadors who attended the return of the coffin, describing their attendance as symbolic of their countries' fight against the illicit trafficking of artefacts. The minister also thanked the US authorities for their full and strong cooperation in returning the coffin. The Manhattan district attorney found that Egypt is indeed the rightful owner of the coffin and ordered that it should be returned to its homeland.

'This is not only for Egyptians, but for our common human heritage and our sense that we all share in these values and we are all of the same international family,' said El-Enany. Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities continues to make all efforts to recover illegally smuggled antiquities.In 2016, it recovered 263 artefacts; in 2017, 553 objects were recovered and in 2018, a collection of 222 artefacts were retrieved in addition to 21,660 coins. In 2019, this coffin returned home.


3. A cache of 20 painted wooden coffins were found intact, piled on top of each other, in the Al-Asasif necropolis on the West Bank at Luxor.

Many international agreements have been signed between a number of countries and this has helped a great deal in the process of recovering smuggled artefacts. The most important agreement is that signed between the
US State Department and the Swiss Federal Council, as well as the agreement signed with the Hashemite Government of Jordan.

Meanwhile a recently discovered large cache of intact and sealed coffins (3) at Al-Asasif necropolis on Luxor's West Bank revealed more than 20 painted wooden coffins found grouped on two levels on top of each other. The coffins were all intact, sealed and in very good condition – and all are still safely in Egypt.

Lindsay Fulcher











 
 
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