The American University in Cairo (AUC) handed over 5,000 historical artifacts to Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities, a collection which it has long held, since the 1960s, the Ministry of Antiquities said in a statement on Tuesday.
The collection consists of a number of clay vessels of different shapes and sizes, ushabti figurines, tombstones and wooden funerary masks from the Greco-Roman era, as well as lamps from the Islamic period.
Head of the Ancient Egyptian Department at the Ministry of Antiquities Mahmoud Afifi said that an AUC excavation team, led by Professor George Scanlon in 1964 at Stable Antar archaeological site in Fustat, unearthed the valuable artifacts.
He added that according to the Egyptian antiquities law at the time, any artifacts unearthed at archaeological sites could be divided between foreign missions.
Consequently, AUC kept half of the excavated items. However, later in 1983, with the passing of the Egypt Antiquities Law (No. 117), the excavated items were registered as Egyptian property.
According to Director General of the Antiquities Possession Department Mahmoud Khalil, the ministry assigned an archaeological committee to inspect the collection, pack the items and transport them to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat.
In a statement, the Antiquities Ministry called for anyone in possession of Egyptian artifacts to follow the lead of AUC in handing them over, as they are part of Egyptian heritage and should be enjoyed by all.