IAA seizes stolen Egyptian sarcophagi in Old City

Antiquities Authority says it is battling to end the practice of smuggling artifacts through Israel.

April 3, 2012 12:51
1 minute read.
Egyptian Sarcophagi seized in Jerusalem

Egyptian Sarcophagi seized in Jerusalem 390. (photo credit: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Aut)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Antiquities Authority inspectors recently seized two rare ancient Egyptian sarcophagus covers in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The antiquities experts have confirmed the covers as authentic, dating one to the Late Bronze Age (16th- 14th centuries BCE) and the other to the Iron Age (10th-8th centuries BCE).

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

The wood-and-plaster covers, each two meters long, were found for sale in a storefront in the Old City marketplace. They are being held in climate-controlled conditions in an Antiquities Authority laboratory in Jerusalem. The location and condition of the rest of the sarcophagi and the mummies they contained remain unclear.

The Antiquities Authority said it suspects the sarcophagus covers were plundered from tombs in Egypt’s Western Desert and from there transferred to Dubai and Europe before making their way to Jerusalem. The covers are split in two – evidence, researchers say, that they had been modified to facilitate smuggling.

Shai Bar-Tura of the Antiquities Authority’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery said that starting April 20, Israel will only allow the import of antiquities certified to have been legally exported from their country of origin.

“The new regulation will provide us with the tools needed in order to prevent the importation into the country of antiquities that were stolen or plundered in other countries, thus enabling us to thwart the international cycle of robbery and trade in stolen archeological artifacts,” he said.

Egypt has asked for the artifacts’ repatriation, and officials from the Antiquities Authority, Israel Police and Foreign Ministry are examining the request.


Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

August 31, 2014
Rioting resumes throughout east Jerusalem Saturday night