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|Egypt's Chief Archaeologist Says United States to Return Smuggled Sarcophagi|
File photo of Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities shows Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (C) at the temple Taposiris Manga. EPA/KENNETH GARRETT/EGYPTIAN SUPREME COUNCIL OF ANTIQUITIES.
CAIRO (AP).- Egypt's chief archaeologist says the United States will return a number of sarcophagi smuggled out of the country 50 years ago.
Zahi Hawass says U.S. authorities seized the sarcophagi on American soil and will return them to Egypt in the next two weeks. He didn't provide any further details about the antiquities or say what sites they were taken from.
Thousands of antiquities were spirited out of Egypt during the colonial period and afterward by archaeologists, adventurers and thieves.
Hawass has made recovering the artifacts the centerpiece of his tenure as antiquities chief.
Hawass' Wednesday statement lauded U.S. efforts, saying America is the "first country in the world that cooperated with Egypt on the return of antiquities."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
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