An invaluable archaeological piece from Aswan, Egypt, from the Medium Kingdom period (2055-1650 BC), was returned by the Government of Mexico to the Arab nation in a ceremony at the National Museum of Anthropology, where it was safeguarded and examined: after 4 years of research, authenticity and its illegal extraction from the country were confirmed.
The piece was detected in 2006 during an inspection of authorities from the Central Administration of Mexican Customs; when checking packages from abroad, they found an Egyptian effigy which authenticity was confirmed later by specialized experts from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and from the Egyptian Government.
According to analyses that the piece underwent, the bas-relief of the profile of a human head was carved on sandstone from the Aswan region. It is 15.6 centimeters tall and 15 wide; a fragment that corresponds to the hair was also conserved.
This delivery was possible thanks to the work of authorities from both countries, conducted after the petition of International Legal Assistance asked by Egyptian authorities to the Office of the Attorney General in Mexico (PGR).
The delivery at the National Museum of Anthropology was presided by the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Ibrahim Khairat; the PGR coordinator of International Affairs, Guillermo Valls Esponda; Dra. Diana Magaloni, director of the museum, and Francisco Vidargas, INAH World Heritage sub director.
Francisco Vidargas emphasized the joint work of cultural and legal authorities of Mexico and Egypt to recover the piece, as well as of the state parties of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.
Vidargas declared that one of the mandates of the INAH is to collaborate with nations that signed the Convention to rescue cultural goods illegally subtracted from their original countries.
The Coordinator of International Affairs and Attaches of the PGR, Guillermo Valls, mentioned that actions like this reflect the importance given by Mexico to the recovery of cultural goods part of the heritage of nations; he remarked that the recovery of the effigy is a sample of the high level of legal cooperation between both countries and the respect of Mexico to heritage of the countries of the world.
Guillermo Valls emphasized the work of the National Museum of Anthropology, in charge of safeguarding the piece since 2007, while investigations to verify its authenticity took place.
The Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Mexico, Ibrahim Khairat, thanked the cooperation of Mexican authorities and the work of INAH to recover and conserve the piece, which he received from Dra. Magaloni.
After showing the piece to the assistants, the director of the National Museum of Anthropology (MNA) expressed it was an honor to safeguard the invaluable piece since 2007, in the adequate conditions of temperature and humidity.
These actions prove the compromise of the Government of Mexico in fighting illegal traffic of cultural goods and protecting cultural and historical heritage of any nation.
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