3,000-year-old ancient Egyptian artifact seized in Tennessee

Artifacts protected under Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act

ByZoe Sottile, CNN, CNNWire
Sunday, August 28, 2022
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Customs officials seized the artifact after the shipper made conflicting statements about its value.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A millennia-old Egyptian artifact was found in a shipment to the port at Memphis, Tennessee, officials say.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered the artifact on Aug. 17, according to a news release published Thursday. It had been shipped to Memphis, Tennessee from Europe, officials confirmed.

Customs officers collaborated with experts at the University of Memphis Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology to assess the item. They determined it is the lid of a canopic jar, which were used to hold mummies' internal organs. The lid was sculpted in the likeness of the funeral deity, Imsety, who helped protect the deceased's liver after their death, CNN reported.

Experts dated the lid back to the Egyptian Third Intermediate Period, according to the release. The period fell between 1069 BC and 653 BC, so the lid is potentially as old as 3,000 years.

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The lid is protected under the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act of 1983, which restricts the import of certain archaeological and ethnological materials into the U.S.

Customs officials seized the artifact after the shipper made conflicting statements about its value, the release explained.

The lid was then turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for further examination.

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