NAPLES - Amalfi authorities greenlit the restoration of a 4th-century sarcophagus and two 16th-century statues found in a former Capuchin monastery, officials said Tuesday. The sarcophagus was recycled in the 13th century by local aristocracy, who decorated it with their coat of arms, then used as an altar in 1934.
Probably made by a Cistercian monk, the two tuff and polychrome plaster statues come from the Puglia region, and were discovered in a cave in Amalfi’s Capuchin convent. They represent Saint Peter and Saint John the Evangelist, and are part of a group of five characters that also includes Christ, an Angel and Saint Jacob.
”This shows the administration’s will to invest in preserving the city’s cultural assets”, said Daniele Milano, the town council member for tourism and culture. (source)
The largest ancient Egyptian sarcophagus has been identified in a tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, say archaeologists who are re-assembling the giant box that was reduced to fragments more than 3,000 years ago.
Made of red granite, the royal sarcophagus was built for Merneptah, an Egyptian pharaoh who lived more than 3,200 years ago. A warrior king, he defeated the Libyans and a group called the “Sea Peoples” in a great battle.
He also waged a campaign in the Levant attacking, among others, a group he called “Israel” (the first mention of the people). When he died, his mummy was enclosed in a series of four stone sarcophagi, one nestled within the other.
Archaeologists are re-assembling the outermost of these nested sarcophagi, its size dwarfing the researchers working on it. It is more than 13 feet (4 meters) long, 7 feet (2.3 m) wide and towers more than 8 feet (2.5 m) above the ground. It was originally quite colorful and has a lid that is still intact. Read more.
LAREDO, TEXAS (AP) — U.S. customs officers in Laredo have seized two stolen Egyptian sarcophagus-type artifacts and are working on getting them back to Egypt.
A Customs and Border Protection statement described the artifacts as painted with intricate faces and designs.
A customs officer at the World Trade Bridge in Laredo initially examined the shipment listed as Egyptian sculptures.
Homeland Security Investigations agents determined the artifacts weren’t travelling with required documentation and actually were Egyptian property.
The priceless objects will move through a government forfeiture process and eventually be returned to Egypt. Read more.
An ancient Roman alabaster sarcophagus, which was stolen more than 20 years ago from a church south of Rome, was returned to Italy on 18 July. It came from the London-based collection of an unnamed antiquities, flown back to Rome on a cargo flight in a container reportedly displaying the official seal of the Italian Embassy in London.
A special team from the cultural heritage protection division of Italy’s police force, the Guardia di Finanza, gruppo Tutela Patrimonio Archeologico, lead by Massimo Rossi, conducted the repatriation operation.
The sarcophagus, which dates from between the second and third centuries BC, was presented at a press conference in Rome and then returned to its hometown of Aquino, around 100km south of the capital, where it is on show in the deconsecrated church of Santa Marta. Read more.
Diving school trainer Hakan Gulec came across more than fish and flotsam during a recent trip to the bottom of the ocean near Antalya off the coast of southern Turkey. An object protruding through the sand on the sea bed caught Gulec’s attention, prompting the intrepid explorer to dislodge and photograph the mystery find. According to Hürriyet Daily News, he then showed his images to officials at Alanya museum who were taken aback by the discovery: a striking, well-preserved sarcophagus adorned with Medusa heads, cupids holding up garlands and dancing women at the corners.
“The Alanya museum has gained a new piece of art,” said its director Yasar Yildiz. “The figures on it show that it dates from the Roman period.” But where has it come from? Perhaps it was made in the famous sculpture school at Aphrodisias further up the coast, which produced sculptural works for the Roman empire. (source)
Cairo, May 29 (IANS/AKI) Archaeologists have discovered a 4,000-year-old tomb in Egypt that contains a sarcophagus inscribed with ancient funeral texts as well as ritual objects.
“It is the first time in many years that such a well-preserved tomb has been unearthed,” said Muhammad Ibrahim, Egypt’s archaeological treasures minister.
The tomb dates from ancient Egypt’s First Intermediate period (2181-2055 B.C.) and is an unusual find, as very little archaeological evidence survives from this period.
Ritual objects made from alabaster copper, terracotta and other materials were found in the tomb in Deir al-Barsha area in al-Minya province, around 250 km from Cairo.
The dig was coordinated by the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. (source)
Min, the ancient Egyptian god of phallus and fertility, might have brought some worldy advantages to his male worshippers, but offered little protection when it came to spiritual life.
Researchers at the Mummy Project-Fatebenefratelli hospital in Milan, Italy, established that one of Min’s priests at Akhmim, Ankhpakhered, was not resting peacefully in his finely painted sarcophagus.
“We discovered that the sarcophagus does not contain the mummy of the priest, but the remains of another man dating between 400 and 100 BC,” Egyptologist Sabina Malgora said.
According to the researchers, the finding could point to a theft more than 2000 years ago. The relatives of the mysterious man may have stolen the beautiful sarcophagus, which dates to a period between the 22nd 23rd Dynasty (about 945-715 BC), to assure their loved one a proper burial and afterlife. Read more.
Turkey is claiming ownership of a sarcophagus discovered at the end of 2010 in Geneva free port during an inventory check conducted by Swiss customs officials.
The Journal des Arts stated that since the Swiss law on customs was reinforced in 2009 – following the discovery of 200 ancient Egyptian pieces in 2003 and the updated trafficking of diamonds through Geneva free port in 2005 -, port authorities must maintain detailed inventories of deposited goods. This explains why authorities at Geneva free port used by the Geneva gallery Phoenix Ancient Art were searched and how Swiss customs discovered a Roman sarcophagus dating from the second century BC. An investigation began in the summer of 2011.
Customs sequestered the sarcophagus and transferred the file to the public ministry of Geneva. Turkey is demanding its return. Their argument is clear: the excavation made near the southern Turkish province of Antalya was done illegally – which is what the investigation seems to have confirmed. (source)