KUWAIT CITY, March 13, (Agencies): The coffin lid artifact, which was smuggled to Kuwait earlier this month from Egypt, possibly dates back to the Pharaonic era, reports Arab News quoting sources from National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL).
The antique is 170cm long, looks like the statue of a figure with an elaborate headdress, and was carved from stone. It was hidden inside a sofa that came in a shipment of office furniture from Egypt. Officers at the Kuwait Airways cargo terminal discovered the artifact as they were scanning the shipment.
According to a source from Egyptian airport, the sofa was shipped from the airport by a certified and registered company. Investigations are ongoing by airport authorities to figure out how the item passed through customs without being detected. Meanwhile, NCCAL sources explained that four experts from Egypt, including experts from Cairo University and Assiut University, will examine the artifact along with four experts from Kuwait. If it is proven to be an antique of Pharaonic times, it will be sent back to Egypt.
This is based on the efforts being exerted by Kuwait to curb the phenomenon of illegal smuggling of antiquities from foreign countries. Head of Department of Recovered Antiquities in Egypt Shaaban Abdel Gawad highlighted the coordination between Ministry of Antiquities and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt with their Kuwaiti counterparts to decide on the logistics of sending the artifact back to Egypt. He said, “We do not know when Egypt will receive this piece.
As soon as we receive it, it will be examined and a detailed report will be issued”. Abdel Gawad affirmed the possibility of the artifact being examined in the laboratories of Al-Tahrir Museum in Cairo with the use of carbon-14, which is a radioactive isotope used for determining the age of antiques. Abdel Gawad indicated that no one from Egypt has yet been sent to Kuwait to examine the artifact, revealing that a group of Egyptian archeologists who live in Kuwait had Thursday examined it and stressed the need to clean the artifact professionally as they were unable to identify its features.