Israel Antiquities Authority ( IAA) announced Tuesday the seize of two covers of Egyptian sarcophagi that contained ancient mummies in the past for sale at the Old City of Jerusalem, after they were smuggled to Israel from Egypt via Dubai.
The IAA made the discovery months ago during a raid of antique shops in Jerusalem, and since then both lids have been preserved at a IAA lab to prevent them from further deteriorating, since they had been cut in half to facilitate their transportation.
Wooden sarcophagi of this kind have only been found in Egypt so far, and were preserved thanks to the dry desert climate that prevails there, the IAA said in a press release.
The ancient covers, which are made of wood and coated with a layer of plaster, are adorned with breathtaking decorations and paintings of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The IAA determined that one of the coffin remains dates back to the 8th century B.C. and the other one to the 10th century B.C..
Currently, Israel and the Egyptian government are negotiating the return of the coffin lids to Egypt.
IAA officials believe that the antiquities were smuggled out of Egypt after they were unearthed in Egypt's western desert area.