Tennessee: 3,000-year-old Egyptian artifact seized by customs officers

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents discovered the artifact Aug. 17, according to a news release on Thursday. It had been shipped to Memphis, Tennessee from Europe, officials confirmed.

Customs officials worked with experts from the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archeology at the University of Memphis to assess the item. They determined it was the lid of a canopic jar, which was used to hold the mummies’ internal organs. The lid was carved in the image of the funerary deity, Imsety, who helped protect the deceased’s liver after death.

Experts dated the lid to the Egyptian Third Intermediate Period, according to the statement. The period was between 1069 BC and 653 BC, so the lid is potentially as old as 3,000 years old.

The cover is protected by the Cultural Property Convention Implementation Act of 1983, which restricts the importation of certain archaeological and ethnological materials into the United States.

Customs officials seized the artifact after the shipper made conflicting claims about its value, the statement said.

The cover was then turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for further examination.

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