- A passenger tried to smuggle six mummified human parts out of Cairo and into Belgium.
- They were discovered at Cairo International Airport inside two loudspeakers.
- The parts were confiscated and sent to the Egyptian museum for restoration.
- $US50 million worth of objects were illegally shipped from Egypt to the US in 2016.
- It is illegal to take anything from ancient civilisations out of the country. It carries a risk of a fine and two years in prison.
When you go through security at an airport, it’s best to double check you don’t have any sharp objects, liquids over 100ml, or weapons in your carry-on. It’s also probably a good idea to make sure your checked luggage doesn’t contain any mummified remains.
If you thought this was a given, you’d be wrong, because the security and customs department at Cairo International Airport recently discovered six mummified parts in a passenger’s bags – two feet, two legs, a left hand, one arm, and part of a torso.
The remains were stashed away into hollowed out loudspeakers, presumably to conceal their existence. But X-ray machines picked them up despite the effort.
According to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, the luggage belonged to a passenger who was travelling out of Egypt to Belgium.
“An archaeological committee examined it and confirmed its authenticity,” the Ministry wrote in a post on Facebook.
“They are now confiscated according to the Antiquities Protection law and its amendments. The parts are now at the Egyptian museum for restoration.”
The Egyptian Law on the Protection of Antiquities states that all antiquities (objects from past civilisations) are “strictly regulated and considered to be the property of the State.”
Removing any antiquities, including mummies, without permission from the authorities can carry a prison sentence of up to two years.
According to Live Science, this hasn’t stopped people stealing ancient artifacts in the past. In 2016, $US50 million worth of objects were illegally shipped from Egypt to the US.
However, earlier this month, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York returned a gilded coffin to the Egyptian government after it was revealed to have been stolen in 2011.
“Stewards of the world’s most important artifacts have a duty to hold their acquisitions to the highest level of scrutiny,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.
“Following my office’s investigation, this beautiful piece of ancient Egyptian history will soon be returned to its rightful place. Our Antiquities Trafficking Unit will continue to root out stolen antiquities in our fight to stop the looting of historic sites and the trade of stolen artifacts around the world.”