Wednesday February 21st, 2024
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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Will Repatriate Stolen Artefacts to Egypt

Following investigations that proved their illegitimate acquisition, 44 artefacts will be returned to Egypt, Italy, and Turkey.

Ziyad El-Helbawy

44 ancient artefacts belonging to Egypt, Italy and Turkey, including a cosmetic container in the form of the Ancient Egyptian God ‘Bes’ dating back to the 26th dynasty, are currently on their way back to their countries of origin following investigations that irrefutably proved their illegitimate acquisition.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts) began repatriating several ancient artefacts to Egypt after receiving evidence from US law enforcement that the works were illegally acquired. Working with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and Department of Homeland Security, investigators presented the museum with documentation proving 44 pieces in its collection were stolen or trafficked.

The repatriation process follows a months-long investigation into 61 objects in the VMFA's collection. Officials traced the artefacts back to international smuggling networks operating in past decades. While no current museum staff were implicated, most of the pieces in question entered the museum’s collection between the 1970s and 1990s.