Kuwait hands over smuggled antiquities to Egypt

The Pharaonic artefacts were seized in 2019

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Kuwait has handed over to Egypt five Pharaonic antiquities, which were seized at Kuwait Airport in 2019.

Three of stolen artefacts date back to 1400BC, while the remaining two have yet to be classified, said Sultan Al Dawish, the director of Kuwait's Antiquities and Museums Department at the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature.

Mr Al Dawish said the Pharaonic objects were “priceless” and were “seized in 2019 in the possession of a traveller who arrived on a direct flight from Luxor to Kuwait”, Kuwait News Agency reported on Thursday.

Several government entities have co-operated with the Egyptian Embassy in Kuwait to verify the stolen antiquities and return them to their homeland, he said.

The Egyptian ambassador to Kuwait, Osama Shaltout, commended the Kuwaiti authorities for their “relentless pursuit to return the Pharaonic antiquities, and their co-operation with the competent authorities in Cairo to verify the originality of the pieces and to ensure their return to the Egyptian museums”.

Mr Shaltout said the co-operation between the two countries also included the investigation of several people suspected of smuggling the artefacts.

A delegation of Egyptian prosecutors and antiquities specialists visited Kuwait last March to inspect the seized antiquities and complete the procedures for their official handover.

Mr Shaltout said “the initial examination of the smuggled artefacts proved the authenticity of three of them”, indicating that there was need for further research and examination of the other two to determine their origin and date.

This is not the first time Kuwait has handed over seized artefacts, Mr Al Dawish said as he referred to an incident in 2018, when the cover of a wooden pharaonic coffin was seized by customs officials at Kuwait Airport, according to a Kuna report.

The latest discovery includes four statues of Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III, ancient Egyptian deities Amun Ra and Horus, and a woman from the Pharaonic age dressed in traditional attire, as well as an inscribed rock mural.

Updated: June 17, 2022, 5:38 AM
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