By Alexander McLaren
Embassy Cairo’s Department of Homeland Security team alongside Homeland Security Investigations in New York, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences, and in coordination with Egyptian authorities, repatriated the Ankhenmaat Sarcophagus, better known as the “Green Coffin,” to Egypt, Jan. 2.
The impressive 3 meter tall sarcophagus dates to the Late Dynastic Period of ancient Egypt (664 B.C. to 332 B.C.) and is believed to have belonged to a Pharaonic priest. Formerly on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences, the sarcophagus was returned after an extensive investigation determined that it was looted from Egypt and smuggled into the United States through Germany in 2008.
Embassy Cairo Chargé d’Affaires Daniel Rubinstein, attended the repatriation ceremony where he praised the outstanding cooperation between the Egyptian and American governments.
“Today’s ceremony is emblematic of the long history of cooperation between the United States and Egypt on antiquities protection and cultural heritage preservation. Alongside law enforcement cooperation to return stolen artifacts, the United States is proud to have helped restore and preserve many of Egypt’s iconic historical sites, from the Sphinx, to temples in Luxor, to Cairo’s Islamic landmarks. This work truly exemplifies the partnership between Americans and Egyptians,” said Rubinstein.
Over the past 25 years, the U.S. government has contributed more than $100 million to preserve Egyptian heritage sites. Most recently, the United States funded the restoration of the Howard Carter House in Luxor.
Local and international outlets extensively covered the repatriation of the “Green Coffin,” demonstrating how America’s commitment to combat smuggling and return stolen artifacts garners respect around the world.
Alexander McLaren is the assistant cultural affairs officer at Embassy Cairo.