Five ancient artifacts that had been smuggled into the United States were returned to Egyptian authorities this week. U.S. officials recovered the cultural objects in an investigation called "Operation Mummy’s Curse."
Among the more unusual objects to be returned to Egypt was this cloth-wrapped mummy's hand. [Read the full story on the smuggled artifacts]
The artifacts were repatriated to the Egyptian government in a ceremony at the Egyptian embassy in Washington, D.C., on Thursday (Dec. 1).
The real thing
The investigation showed that it was really an Egyptian mummy's hand, dating back to the eighth century B.C. [Read the full story on the smuggled artifacts]
Two painted wooden sarcophagi were also among the objects returned to their country of origin. They included a nesting sarcophagus seized from a garage in Brooklyn as well as an intricately painted coffin.
When the hand arrived in a package at Los Angeles International Airport in 2013, it was listed as a sci-fi movie prop worth $66, according to officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has been running "Operation Mummy's Curse" since 2009 to bust a network of antiquities smugglers.
Thousands of repatriations
Through the investigation, ICE officials say they have recovered about 7,000 artifacts. The five Egyptian objects are the latest to be returned to their country of origin. [Read the full story on the smuggled artifacts]
History comes alive
"Each of the artifacts returned today tells a story — a human story, our story," Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said in a statement. "History comes alive when someone is able to not only read about the past, but is also able to visit the historical sites, watch and enjoy the artifacts, appreciate the images and see the actual writings of our ancestors."