Hundreds of ancient artifacts returned by Italy after they were recovered from smugglers in May went on display at the Egyptian museum in Cairo on Wednesday.
The relics date to different eras, suggesting that the smugglers were well organized, according to museum curator Ahmed Samir.
The treasure haul included 19,000 coins from the Greco-Roman period, 151 small statues and 175 other artifacts, which were returned and displayed. Some required restoration but most were intact, museum director Sabah Abdelrazek said.
“The restoration did not take long. The coffin was separated. It was repaired by the museum and there was a bronze statue which was also separated. It was repaired as well. We have pictures from before the restoration displayed here.”
Antiquities theft has flourished in Egypt in the years of chaos since the 2011 uprising, with relics stolen from museums, mosques, storage facilities, and illegal excavations. Egypt’s Pharaonic heritage is not only a source of immense national pride, but also a source of income from tourists.