In the year from October 2008 to November 2009, several Egyptian antiquities made their way into the United States. Among these trafficked antiquities were a Greco-Roman style sarcophagus, a set of Egyptian boats and Egyptian limestone figures.
Most of the smuggled items were recovered by U.S. Homeland Security, with help from Egypt’s Ministry of State for Antiquities, in July 2011. Suspects in Michigan, New York, Virginia and the United Arab Emirates have been arrested for the crime. It is suspected that the antiquities went through Dubai, UAE and then into the United States. This arrest is significant as it is the first time a cultural property network in the U.S. has been dismantled. Also, the illicit sale of cultural property is the third most profitable black market industry, and there is, no doubt, a large market for sarcophogi.
Objects from the past can help us understand ancient civilizations and ways of life. However, when antiquities and artifacts are moved and tampered with, they may lose some of their cultural value and significance.