Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Back Home: France Returns Artifacts Stolen from Egypt

250 artifacts from as far back as 2000 BCE returned to Nile state, latest in long spate of French artifact smuggling.

Paris has returned 250 ancient artifacts to Egypt that were illegally imported into the country and seized by French customs officials, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

Amulets, rings, funerary statues and pitchers, dating from 2000 BCE up to the Roman, Byzantine and Medieval eras were returned to the Egyptian embassy. Foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said the artifacts were from “two batches of archaeological items...identified by the Louvre museum as authentic.”

French customs seized the items at Paris’s main airport Charles de Gaulle in March and November 2010, hidden in the baggage of travelers coming from Cairo. Customs authorities said in a statement it was the third time this year that France had returned illegally imported cultural artifacts to foreign authorities.

In February, French President Francois Hollande returned an extremely valuable ancient terracotta statue from Nigeria’s Nok civilization - seized by customs in 2012 - to authorities in the country. And in early November, 13 reptile fossils were returned to Brazil, eight years after they were seized.
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