The Egyptian government welcomed home an ancient wooden sarcophagus on Monday that was looted from the country nearly 15 years ago, according to the Associated Press.
“This stunning coffin was trafficked by a well-organized network that has looted countless antiquities from the region,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said three months ago, after his office determined the sarcophagus had been looted from Abu Sir Necropolis, north of Cairo. “We are pleased that this object will be returned to Egypt, where it rightfully belongs.”
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An official at Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, told the Associated Press the sarcophagus dates back to the Late Dynastic Period of ancient Egypt, which lasted from 664 B.C.E. until Alexander the Great’s campaign in 332 B.C.E.
According to Waziri, the sarcophagus, which measures about 9.5 feet long, may have belong to an ancient priest named Ankhenmaat.
The repatriation is part of the Egyptian government’s continued efforts to stop the trafficking and secure the return of stolen antiquities. Bragg said that the sarcophagus was smuggled into the U.S. via Germany and before being returned was featured in the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences.
In 2021, Egyptian authorities saw the return of 5,300 looted artifacts from across the globe, the Associated Press reported.