Monday, February 27, 2012

Luxor Fiasco

Failed attempt to smuggle 19 antiquities objects at Luxor Airport

Ministry state of Antiquities (Seized Antiquities department office at Luxor Airport) foiled an attempt to smuggle 19 objects of different sizes and dated back to different historical eras. The captured pieces vary between ushabtis, faience,ushabtisi , ostraca, manuscripts including an English version of a Bible dated back to 16th century and various coins.

Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim (Minister State of Antiquities) said that the objects were in acquisition of a British couple (Michael R. and Angela N.) who was trying to leave the country and that the objects will be transferred to the Egyptian Museum storerooms in the next few days under the supervision of a specialized committee. The objects include a pottery pot on 9cm with a human face depicted, 5 pottery and green faience ushabti with hieroglyphic inscriptions and depiction of Isis which are dated to late pharaonic times. The objects are protects and fall under the antiquities law No. 117 for 1983 and the Bible is subject of culture property which is protected by law 114/1983.





We demand an official apology

Yesterday the news were spreading around about the so-called “smuggling attempt at Luxor Airport” and even some media sources made up stories about a private jet and a mummy was stolen too. Luxor Times had published the officials’ statements about the incident but the story has another side. Luxor Times editor had the opportunity to meet in person with the so-called “smugglers” who were RELEASED immediately by the pre-judge at Luxor court and a committee will be formed for further investigation on the objects from Cairo and question what the antiquity specialist at the airport said it was a Roman coin, it was in fact a Romanian coin according to the couple.

The full story and details will be published soon in the printed version of Luxor Times but from now until then, we hope that the British respectful couple get an official apology from whoever is responsible for this drama as long as the objects are not genuine otherwise don’t expect any tourists to buy a souvenir from the local market for 5 pounds as it may fool someone who should have studied for many years to be a professional and think it is genuine.







Peter Tompa's perspective:

Egypt's cultural bureaucracy and more than a few shoot first ask questions later archaeologists and media outlets are looking foolish after a bust for supposed antiquities smuggling unravelled in a big way.

Egypt is desperate for foreign tourists. Stories like this will rightly scare even more away.


To which I will add that the officials and archaeologists involved are looking not only foolish, but astonishingly ignorant and incompetent.

The artifacts [ see image in ] are so obviously "tourist fakes" that anyone who knows anything at all about ancient Egyptian artifacts should have immediately recognized them for what they are.



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