Egypt Former Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass commented on the British museum offering a Egyptian basalt block Statue of Pamiu (the Cat) for sale at Sotheby’s in London, stressing that Egyptian antiquities were being officially sold until 1983.
The artifact began being auctioned at Sotheby’s on Tuesday.
“Our Egyptian antiquities were officially sold until 1983, until Law 83 was enacted, and the archaeological missions that were working to discover antiquities in Egypt used to get 50 percent of the archaeological discoveries,” he said.
During a telephone interview with al-Hadath al-Youm channel on Tuesday, Hawass noted, “Not every piece that is offered for sale in an auction abroad is stolen.”
“There is a committee in the Antiquities Ministry to recover antiquities, which is responsible for following up all auctions that are held externally for the sale of antiquities or artifacts that are displayed in the galleries of foreign museums, to determine whether they are stolen or not, by identifying the artifacts and how they left Egypt.”
“I have no knowledge whether the artifact that is displayed in a museum in Britain is stolen or not,” he said.
In January, the Department of Recovered Antiquities at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, headed by Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, succeeded in recovering many Egyptian antiquities that were illegally trafficked during 2022.