A passenger at Cairo International Airport recently tried to smuggle mummified remains from Egypt to Belgium.
To be specific, he tried to smuggle two feet, two legs, a left hand, one arm, and part of a torso.
The passenger put the remains inside two hollowed-out loudspeakers in an attempt to conceal them. But the X-ray machines still picked up on the body parts. Can you imagine the alarm on airport security personnel’s faces when they saw human bones on the screen?!
The body parts apparently belonged to two mummies.
“An archaeological committee examined it and confirmed its authenticity,” the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities wrote on Facebook.
According to the Egyptian Law on the Protection of Antiquities, all ancient objects are “strictly regulated and considered to be the property of the State.”
It’s illegal to privately own or trade any antiquities, let alone remove them from the country without permission. That law very much includes mummy body parts. The crime comes with a possible fine and a prison sentence of up to two years.
Nonetheless, looting persists at ancient sites in Egypt. In 2016, for example, traders shipped an estimated $50 million worth of stolen artifacts from Egypt to the US, per Live Science.
A special archaeological unit works at the Cairo airport just to catch these looters in the act. These particular body parts are now at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo, where professionals are restoring the parts, the Ministry said.
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