After 8 Years of Unlawful Possession, Met Museum Returns Gilded coffin of Nedjemankh to Egypt
In 2011, the gilded coffin of Nedjemankh, a high-ranking priest of the 1st Century B.C., was smuggled from Egypt to the United States. In just a few months, the famed sarcophagus appeared at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Soon afterward, Egypt filed a formal complaint to the U.S. government. Earlier this year, after so many back-and-forth
Earlier this year, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office recovered the gilded coffin from the Met Museum and handed it to Egypt over Wednesday.
According to Ahram Online, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr met with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to hold a repatriation ceremony in New York on Wednesday to show off the gilded coffin of the ancient Egyptian priest Nedjemankh.
The Metropolitan Museum apologized to Egypt and promised further scrutiny over the acceptance of new archaeological artifacts. District Attorney Vance stated that New Yorkers were very sensitive to preserving cultural heritage. He then praised the smooth cooperation between New York prosecutor office and Homeland Security that led to the recovery and return of the coffin to its home-country.
“Returning stolen cultural treasures to their countries of origin is at the core of our mission to stop the trafficking of stolen antiquities,” Vance told USA Today. “I am honoured to repatriate this extraordinary artifact back to the people of Egypt, and I thank my office’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit as well as our partners at HSI New York for their diligence in this investigation.”
“This is not only for Egyptians, but for our common human heritage and our sense that we all share in these values and we are all of the same international family,” Minister Shoukry said at the repatriation ceremony.
Once the coffin comes home, the Ministry of Antiquities is scheduled to hold a welcoming ceremony at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation.
The Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Anany thanked Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the National Committee for Antiquities Repatriation. He also praised cooperation from the American authorities overseas.
There are many other relics that have been transferred from Egypt legally but never returned such as the statue of the architect of the Great Pyramid located in Germany and the statue of the Khafre Pyramid manager in the United States. According to Zahi Hawass, Egypt has legal ownership of these artifacts and should demand their immediate retrieval. Hopefully, in time, all our stolen artifacts abroad will return home.