Friday, January 29, 2021

MOTB returns 5K artifact to Egypt

REPATRIATION: Museum of Bible Returns 5,000 Artifacts With “Insufficient” Provenance to Egypt. The US Department of Homeland Security returned the artifacts to Cairo yesterday, concluding Egypt’s efforts to retrieve the items since 2016 (Hakim Bishara, Hyperallergic).
The collection includes manuscripts and papyrus fragments with texts written in Coptic, hieratic and demotic scripts, and Greek. Some of the papyri feature Christian prayers written in Arabic and Coptic or Arabic only.

Other items in the collection include cartonnage funerary masks, parts of coffins, heads from stone statues, and portraits of the deceased, according to Egyptian officials. The objects will be handed to the Coptic Museum in Cairo, which is the largest museum of its kind in the world.

It sounds as though this is part of the planned repatriation of artifacts of unverified provenance which Steve Green announed last spring. See here and here. I commend Mr. Green and the MOTB for working to get their act together. But I hope there are no more problems like this.

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