Pieces of an ancient Egyptian necropolis that was pillaged in 1999 have been found in Spain by an expert in Middle Eastern antiquities who spotted them in a shop, Spanish police said Wednesday.
The eight pieces of limestone carry hieroglyphic inscriptions dating from the third century BC, police in the northeastern city of Barcelona said in a statement.
They were discovered by an expert from Barcelona University's department of Middle Eastern antiquities.
He spotted them in an antique shop and noticed they "bore inscriptions that made him suspect they came from" the Saqqara burial ground in the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, which was pillaged in 1999, the statement said.
Pieces of an ancient Egyptian necropolis which were pillaged from Egypt in 1999 have been discovered in an antiques shop in Spain.
A Middle Eastern expert spotted the eight fragments of limestone after recognising the inscriptions, Barcelona police said.
The pieces are inscribed with hieroglyphics dating from the 3rd Century BC.
They will now be returned to the Egyptian government.
The artefacts were looted from the Saqqara burial ground in the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, south of Cairo, in 1999.
With many thanks to Alan H. Hart for the link and the translation.
Hace unos años, el egiptólogo Josep Cervelló conoció a Imephor, que allá por el 2.200 antes de Cristo fue sumo sacerdote en Menfis, al sur de El Cairo. Cervelló lideró una prospección arqueológica en un yacimiento cercano a la necrópolis egipcia de Saqqara. Pero un violento saqueo, en 1999, frustró la excavación y el investigador tuvo que limitarse al estudio de inscripciones, que resultaron únicas.
Los caprichos del destino han propiciado el reencuentro (simbólico) de Imephor y Cervelló. Una alumna de su máster en egiptología vio ocho fragmentos de piedra calcárea a la venta en el escaparate de un anticuario de Barcelona. La chica se limitó a contar que eran "muy majas", pero el profesor sospechó que podían ser las piezas robadas en Saqqara, y que él conoce como nadie. A Cervelló no le costó "ni un segundo" saber que los fragmentos provenían del yacimiento que visitó en Egipto y donde, tras un estudio minucioso, alumbró el nombre de Imephor.
(The Egyptologist Josep Cervello has known about Imephor, who was a priest of Memphis about 2200 BC, ever since he led an archaeological dig on a site near the necropolis of Saqqara. However in 1999 the site was ransacked, frustrating the excavation and limiting the study of some unique inscriptions. By chance Imephor and Cervello have met again. A former student of Cervello saw 8 fragments of lime stone for sale in the shop window of an antique dealer in Barcelona. She limited herself to saying that they were very attractive but her professor suspected that they were the pieces robbed from the dig in Saqqara. Cervello did not need more than a second of study to know that the fragments were the missing pieces and, after a thorough study, shed light on Imephor.)