CAIRO: Cairo authorities said on Monday they had recovered a pharaonic heart scarab and a tiny statuette, two of several ancient treasures looted from the world-famous Egyptian Museum during the country’s uprising.
"The search operation that is being carried out inside and outside the museum for the lost artifacts has succeeded in recovering some of them," minister of state for antiquities Zahi Hawass said in a statement.
The museum’s director, Tarek Al-Awadi, told AFP the recovered pieces had been found in the museum gardens.
Egypt’s antiquities ministry said on Sunday that looters who raided the museum during the unrest at the start of the protests that overthrew Hosni Mubarak had made off with several pieces, including a statue of King Tutankhamun.
The plundered artifacts include a gilded wooden statue showing the boy pharaoh being carried by a goddess and parts of another statue of him harpooning fish.
Hawass said on Monday that one of 11 wooden statuettes of Yuya, a powerful courtier from the time of a dynasty that ruled along the banks of the Nile 3,000 years ago, had been recovered.
Investigators also recovered the scarab, which would have been placed on the chest of a mummy to prevent its heart from being removed.
Zawass also said that guards had secured a storage facility at the Dahshur pyramid site south of Cairo after thieves broke in on Saturday night and made off with an undisclosed number of amulets.
Looters broke into the museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on January 28 when anti-Mubarak protesters drove his despised police from the streets in a series of clashes, shattering 13 display cases and at least 70 artifacts.
Founded in 1858 by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, the museum contains more than 100,000 artifacts, including the world renowned — and reputedly cursed — treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb.
The best-known artifact is Tutankhamun’s gold funerary mask, which stares out from a case on the first floor of the museum, and was not taken. The 18th dynasty monarch, better known as King Tut, ruled in the 13th century BC.