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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Sarcophagus Returns to Egypt

The US returned a nearly 3,000-year-old sarcophagus to Egypt yesterday after US attorneys concluded it had been looted from the country in 2008. The artifact had been on display in Houston's Museum of Natural Science since 2013.

Measuring almost 10 feet in length, the wooden coffin is known for its brightly painted green face. Despite blurred inscriptions, historians argue the coffin likely belonged to a Late Dynastic priest named Ankhemmaat (see timeline). Revelations last summer alleged a network of leaders in the art world were involved in illicit antiquities trading, leading to the indictment of a former director of the Louvre Museum in Paris. In September, Manhattan district attorneys announced the sarcophagus was stolen from an Egyptian necropolis by that same network and sold to a private German dealer.

The handover comes as part of a larger effort by Cairo's antiquities council to return its looted artifacts. During 2021 alone, over 5,000 ancient objects were returned from across the globe.

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