Bible Museum Returns Illegally Exported Egyptian Artifacts

More than 5,000 objects were transferred to Egypt

Images: Ministry of Antiquities. Egypt, 2021

About 5,000 items that were kept at the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC since its opening in 2016 have been sent back to Cairo. The Egyptian authorities demanded the repatriation of cultural artifacts, including ritual masks, fragments of coffins, stone sculptures, religious manuscripts, and parts of papyrus with inscriptions in Coptic and Arabic. The objects will be on display at the Coptic Museum in Cairo.

According to Hisham al-Layti, a spokesman for the National Antiquities Registration Center, the items were not transferred through official Egyptian depositories or museums, but they were smuggled into Washington after illegal excavations. The Museum also says it will ship over 8,000 clay items to the Baghdad Museum in Iraq.