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Egypt recovers 3 ancient mummies from US

An Egyptian mummy [PROMario Sánchez Prada/Flickr]
An Egyptian mummy [PROMario Sánchez Prada/Flickr]

The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced on Wednesday that it has recovered parts of three ancient mummies from the United States, which had been stolen and smuggled out of Egypt in the early 20th century.

The supervisor-general of the ministry’s repatriation department, Shaaban Abdel Gawad, said in a statement that “the ministry had succeeded following several diplomatic negotiations to recover three pieces of various ancient mummies.”

“The three fragments consist of two hands and a head from three mummies,” Abdel Gawad noted, stressing that they were in “a very good conservation condition.”

The mummies, the Egyptian official pointed out, were seized in Manhattan when their owner tried to sell them.

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“The fragments are now in the possession of American authorities, and will be handed over to the Egyptian Consulate on 8 January at a ceremony in New York,” Abdel-Gawad said.

The recovered fragments had been bought by an American citizen in 1927 from an antiquities worker who stole them from an illegal excavation at an archaeological site in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, according to the ministry.

In August, the Egyptian ministry announced the loss of 32,638 antiquities over more than 50 years, based on a recent inventory work that was carried out.

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