Authorities in Cairo have foiled an attempt to smuggly Egyptian mummy parts out of Egypt by a passenger, who bagged the artefacts but failed to tag them in his luggage on a Belgium-bound flight.
The morbid discovery was made by an X-ray monitor at Cairo International Airport, who saw parts of the ancient cadaver – mummified feet, legs, a left hand, an arm and a torso – neatly wrapped inside a sound speaker in the unidentified passenger’s bag.
In tune with the antiquities protection law, expert corpse busters from the ministry of antiquities were then called to examine the remains and confirm their authenticity.
According to a Facebook post by the ministry, the archaeologically significant limbs were confiscated and sent to the Egyptian Museum where they will be restored.
The Ancient Egyptians’ complex corpse preservation techniques have long aroused fascination and tickled imaginations, both fanciful and dreadful.
But undeterred by curses believed to have been made by ancient Egyptians against tomb raiders and thieves who disturb their eternal peace, trafficking ancient artefacts from Egypt is common and feeds a multi-million dollar illegal trade in smuggled antiquities.
Many of these items scandalously make their way to prestigious museums in the West or could even end up being used as science fiction film props.
Egypt has recently stepped up its efforts to retrieve its stolen treasures, as pressure grows on Western nations, former colonial states and recent occupiers of ancient countries in the region, to atone for their history of cultural plunder.