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Criminal Justice & Legal System

The Mummy's Curse? Border officers seize linen fragments that once wrapped Egyptian mummy

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Linen that once wrapped an Egyptian mummy has landed some people in trouble.

Last month at the Blue Water Bridge, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized a package of five jars containing linen fragments that once wrapped an Egyptian mummy.

“The pictures… doesn’t really show the true size of things,” says April Donaghy, the watch commander in Port Huron. “But they are in fact pieces of actual linen.”

After seizing the package confiscated from a Canadian mail truck May 25th, CBP began to coordinate with a Washington, DC based archeological organization in determining the admissibility of the presumed antiquities.

The seized artifacts are believed to be from the Ptolemaic Dynasty (305-30 BC). And that’s a problem for the parties that tried to mail them across the border.

The importer was unable to prove that the artifacts were removed from Egypt before April 2016. That would be a violation of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act.

Donaghy says the investigation continues. 

“Well it’s definitely unique,” says Donaghy. “It’s not something we see every day.”

Federal agencies, including the U.S. State Department, will be focusing on repatriation of these artifacts in the near future.

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