Thursday, 19 May 2011

Egyptologist suspected of smuggling artifacts

A former history lecturer from the US, specialising in Ancient Egypt, was held for questioning by Israeli authorities after allegedly selling and trying to smuggle abroad hundreds of valuable archeological artifacts. These included ancient bronze and silver coins dating to the Second Temple period, approximately 2,000 years ago, as well as clay oil lamps and glass and pottery vessels.

According to news reports, the retired lecturer allegedly sold antiquities to American tourists he had been leading on a guided tour for $20,000 and tried to leave tried to leave country with ancient coins.

Customs authorities in conjunction with Antiquities Authority officials detained the suspect at Ben-Gurion Airport on Monday night as he prepared to board a flight to the US.

After admitting to the alleged offences and filing a hefty deposit to ensure his return for trial, he was allowed to leave the country, according to The Jerusalem Post. The man has not been named.

The arrest came after a week-long surveillance operation by undercover Antiquities Authority agents.

YnetNews: US professor suspected of selling stolen artifacts

CBS News: Israel accuses US man of antiquities trafficking

Art Daily: An Attempt to Smuggle Hundreds of Stolen Antiquities from Israel was Thwarted

CNN International: American arrested over alleged antiquities smuggling in Israel 

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