The 2,100-year-old coffin of a priest called Nedjemankh was featured in an exhibit housing artifact from Egypt.
According to BBC, the coffin was stolen and smuggled out of Egypt in 2011 and sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York by a global art trafficking network, which used fraudulent documents.
“Thus far our investigation has determined that this coffin is just one of hundreds of antiquities stolen by the same multinational trafficking ring,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance was quoted by Reuters news agency, at a repatriation ceremony in New York on Wednesday.
Investigators say the coffin was smuggled from Egypt through the United Arab Emirates, Germany, and France. They say the museum was given fraudulent documents, including a forged 1971 Egyptian export license.
The gold coffin is believed to have once held the mummy of Nedjemankh, a priest of the ram god Heryshaf of Herakleopolis.
The U.S.$4 million artifact is expected to be on display at the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo in 2020.
Many Africa artifacts are still in Europea and American museums years after they were plundered from their homes. European media still glorify plunderers of history such as the fictional character Indiana Jones, a bid to justify how they have robbed Africa of its precious artifacts.
In July, UK-based Christie’s auction house sold an ancient sculpture of King Tutankhamun’s head for £4,746,250 ($5,969,904, €5,290,171). This was despite an outcry from Egyptian authorities to stop the auction.
It remains a fact that all African artifacts in foreign museums are out of place. This is whether they have documents or not. African artifacts belong in Africa.