Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Looted Mummies in Egypt

AFP have reported today: "Egypt thwarts smugglers seeking mummy millions".

Three people have been arrested for "trying to sell intricately painted Pharaonic-era mummies for more than five million dollars". The four mummies and other items ("10 small statues and a Pharaonic sarcophagus decorated with hieroglyphs") were apparently looted from a site near Minya.

The pieces were due to be sold for "20 million Egyptian pounds (5.3 million dollars)". To put this into perspective, this is more than the average annual sale of Egyptian antiquities at Sotheby's, New York.

So who were the buyers? I would guess a dealer.

And who would be the end purchaser? A (very) wealthy private collector? An institution?

It looks like the market in Egyptian antiquities is far from dead - and the destruction of archaeological contexts continues.

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