Egyptian Museum Missing Items

Looters got away with 18 artifacts from the Egyptian Museum during the recent political unrest, including two statues of "King Tut," officials announced yesterday. A few of the items have since been recovered.

Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass said museum officials determined 18 objects were gone, taken when looters climbed a fire escape to the museum roof and lowered themselves on ropes from a glass-paneled ceiling onto the museum's top floor on Jan. 28, reports the Associated Press.

The museum is located on the edge of Cairo's Tahrir Square, a central location of much of the 18-day uprising that forced out President Hosni Mubarak.

The list of the missing items includes a gilded wooden statue of the 18th Dynasty King Tutankhamun; pieces from a statue of the boy king wielding a fishing harpoon from a boat; a statue of Nefertiti making offerings; a sandstone head of a princess; and a stone statuette of a scribe from Amarna; a heart scarab and 11 wooden funerary statuettes of the nobleman Yuya.

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A limestone statue of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, the so-called heretic king who tried to introduce monotheism to ancient Egypt, is the biggest loss.

"It's the most important one from an artistic point of view," says museum director Tarek el-Awady, to the news outlet.

But some of the artifacts have been recovered, reports Reuters today.

Zahi Hawass, minister of state for antiquities affairs, said in a statement, that a heart scarab, a small Ushabti statue and part of a coffin dating back to the Modern Kingdom 3,000 years ago were found outside the museum.

Two of the missing artifacts were found "between a government building that got burned and the (museum's) gift shop. We are continuing the search and will find more," Hawass tells Reuters.

The Egyptian Museum remains closed and is being guarded by an army unit.

Photo, AP

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