U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized a potentially 3,000 year-old Egyptian artifact in Memphis last week under a nearly-4-decade-old congressionally-passed act.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An Egyptian artifact that could be 3,000 years old was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Memphis, TN last week, CBP stated in a press release.
A jar lid of the funeral deity “Imsety” was being sent from Europe to a private buyer in the U.S. when CBP officers intercepted the item, which is currently on a list of “designated archaeological materials of cultural property” that are subject to seizure if imported into the U.S.
According to CBP, the artifact’s shipper also made contradictory statements “regarding the declared value of the item” before CBP seized it at the port of Memphis, TN on Wednesday, Aug. 17.
The University of Memphis Institute of Egyptian art was consulted to determine the artifact’s authenticity, CBP said.
It was then turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for further examination and to determine it’s provenance, according to CBP.
The lid is one of multiple items on a list that are protected by bilateral treaties falling under the CPIA 19 USC 2609, according to CBP. CPIA is the congressionally passed Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act of 1983 and restricts importing some archaeological and ethnological materials into the country.
The jar lid was part of a “Canopic” jar, according to CBP. “Canopic” jars were used to hold the internal organs of mummies and the deity Imsety was specifically believed to protect the livers of the dead, CBP said.
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