CAIRO, December 12. /TASS/. In the last 10 years, Cairo managed to return about 30,000 ancient artifacts, illegally taken out of the country at various points in time, Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities’ Department of Repatriation head Shaaban Abdel-Gawad said on TV Saturday.
According to the official, the Department is tracking "auctions and internet sales around the world."
"Since 2011, the Egyptian state managed to repatriate 29,300 artifacts," he said. "In this year alone, 5,300 Ancient Egyptian artifacts have been discovered in the Museum of the Bible in Washington."
All smuggled artifacts were registered in the archives, and the work on their repatriation is underway, he said.
The official explained that the repatriated artifacts are being restored and will be displayed in museums afterwards. One such artifact is an ancient human skeleton discovered in Belgium, currently displayed in the National Museum of the Egyptian Civilization in Cairo.
Recently, Egypt embarked on a campaign to repatriate the smuggled ancient artifacts. In 1983, Arab Republic tightened its artifact protection legislation: exporting objects of cultural heritage is currently punishable by law. According to the authorities, about 95% of smuggled antiquities have been unearthed by illegal archeologists.