ARCENCPostings

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

3,000-year-old stolen mummy hand mistaken for sci-fi prop is returned to Egypt | Daily Mail Online


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4006056/3-000-year-old-stolen-mummy-hand-mistaken-sci-fi-prop-finally-returned-Egypt.html

Revealed: 3,000-year-old stolen mummy hand that was mistaken for a sci-fi prop is finally returned to Egypt

  • Relics were seized as part of the US immigration office's ongoing investigations
  • 'Operation Mummy's Curse' was launched in 2009 to bust antiquities smugglers
  • Stolen items include a mummy hand, painted wooden sarcophagi and a shroud 
  • The objects are all Ancient Egyptian and between 2,000 and 3,000 years old
  • All five objects are set to be moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo

A stolen mummy has been returned to Egypt after being seized by US customs.

The valuable item is among five illegally-smuggled artefacts and is believed to have been mistaken for a sci-fi prop. 

The objects, that also include three wooden sarcophagi and a shroud that draped a mummy, are all Ancient Egyptian and between 2,000 and 3,000 years old, archaeologists have said.

When the 8th BCE century mummy hand was first brought to the US, the people carrying it did not know it was an actual Ancient Egyptian mummy hand. It was brought over as a prop for a sci-fi movie, and valued at $66 (£51.74)

THE STOLEN ARTEFACTS

The objects are all Ancient Egyptian and between 2,000 and 3,000 years old, archaeologists have said. 

The stolen items include a mummy hand that was mistaken for a sci-fi prop, painted wooden sarcophagi and a shroud that once wrapped a mummy.

The items were seized after years of investigations by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

The objects were unveiled at a recent opening ceremony at the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, D.C.   

'While we recognize that cultural property, art, and antiquities are assigned a dollar value in the marketplace, the cultural and symbolic worth of these Egyptian treasures far surpasses any monetary value to the people of Egypt,' said ICE Director Sarah Saldaña. 

The items were seized after years of investigations by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

'For the recovery and repatriation of these priceless artefacts, I would like to offer deepest thanks to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Director Saldaña and – in particular – the agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement,' said Ambassador Yasser Reda.

'The tireless work of these men and women may often go unseen. 

'But it is nothing short of vital for the preservation of ancient cultures from around the world.'

Five illegally-smuggled artefacts have been returned to Egypt after being seized by US customs. The stolen items include a mummy hand that was mistaken for a sci-fi prop, painted wooden sarcophagi (pictured) and a shroud that once wrapped a mummy

The objects are all Ancient Egyptian and between 2,000 and 3,000 years old, archaeologists have said. They were unveiled at a recent opening ceremony at the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, D.C.


The investigations have been going on for years.

In 2009, authorities recovered a nesting sarcophagus from a garage in Brooklyn, New York.

One year later, in September, 2010, following leads from the Brooklyn case, Customs and Border Protection officers seized a shipment of smuggled Egyptian goods, including a funerary boat model and figurines.

A related December 2010 shipment interception at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport contained ancient coins from different countries, 65 of which were repatriated to Egypt.  

The source of some of the objects surprised even those trying to bring them into the US.

'It's sort of amazing the kind of things people will try and ship across international borders,' Dr Frederik Hiebert, National Geographic archaeologist said in a video

All five objects are set to go back to Egypt, to the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The museum 'has one of the best conservation labs in the world,' according to Dr Hiebert

ICE launched 'Operation Mummy's Curse' in 2009 to bust a network of antiquities smugglers bringing illicit artefacts from other countries into the United States

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN ANCIENT EGYPT

Harsh punishments were dished out all over Ancient Egypt.

The punishment for treason was death, but torture was used to force a confession.

Perjury was also punishable by death because accused men in court had to take an oath on the life on the Pharaoh, so if they lied, they were found to intend injury to the king – another capital offence.

During the Ramesside period - the rule of eleven kings with the name Ramesses - thieves had their feet beaten or noses and ears cut off.

Those who committed serious crimes such as murder, faced being burned alive or impaled on poles.

Francine Nicholas of the University of Sheffield explained in a blog post that so many punishments involved body mutilation because it destroyed people's 'wholeness'.

Importantly, this destroyed any prospect of entering the afterlife as well as failing to achieve physical perfection, which was a preoccupation at the time. 

For example, when the 8th century BC mummy hand was first brought to the US, the people carrying it were unaware of its origin.

It was brought over as a prop for a sci-fi movie, and valued at $66 (£51.74). 

'It's sort of amazing the kind of things people will try and ship across international borders,' Dr Frederik Hiebert, National Geographic archaeologist said in a video.

'Some of these artefacts ended up in dealers' garages in New York City, and some of them are kind of abused to get to the United States because they have to cover up the fact that they're shipping ancient artefacts,' he said.

All five objects are set to go back to Egypt, to the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The museum 'has one of the best conservation labs in the world,' according to Dr Hiebert.

The ICE launched 'Operation Mummy's Curse' in 2009 to bust a network of antiquities smugglers bringing illicit artefacts from other countries into the United States. 

Saldaña said her agency has made four arrests and two convictions in the investigation.

'Each of the artefacts returned today tells a story – a human story, our story,' said Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

'History comes alive when someone is able to not only read about the past, but is also able to visit the historical sites, watch and enjoy the artefacts, appreciate the images and see the actual writings of our ancestors,' 

The operation has recovered about 7,000 artefacts, not just from Egypt, but also from Greece, India and Iraq.


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