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Some missing Egyptian relics found, antiquities chief says

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Two relics reported missing on Sunday have been located, antiquities chief says
  • They are a heart scarab and a Shabti statuette
  • At least 16 other items remain missing, but authorities are still cataloging items in storage areas

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- At least two of 18 relics reported missing from the Egypt's main museum in Cairo have been recovered, the country's antiquities director said Monday.

Searchers found a heart scarab and one of 11 missing Shabti statuettes that had been reported missing Sunday, according to a statement from Zahi Hawass, Egypt's minister of antiquities.

He said it appeared thieves threw the scarab outside the museum. The statuette and part of a mummy were found on the ground outside of the museum's display areas, Hawass said.

The other 10 Shabti statues remain missing.

The thefts and damage to 70 pieces at the museum occurred during recent unrest that led to President Hosni Mubarak's resignation on Friday. Thieves broke into the museum on January 28, Hawass has said.

Among other items still missing from the Cairo museum are a gilded wood statue of King Tutankhamun being carried by a goddess and part of another Tutankhamun statue, a limestone statue of Akhenaten, a statue of Nefertiti making offerings, a sandstone head of an Amarna princess and a stone statuette of a scribe from Amarna.

At least some of the missing items may be buried on the museum's grounds, according to Hawass' statement.

At least 393 pieces missing from the East Qantara storage area in the Sinai have been recovered, Hawass said. It was unclear Monday how many pieces were still missing from the "many boxes" of antiquities that Hawass said had been stolen.

On Sunday, thieves also attacked the Dashour storage area near Saqqara, Egypt, for the second time in two days after handcuffing guards at the site, according to Hawass.

Antiquties officials were working to determine what, if anything was stolen, Hawass said.

Hawass said intruders vandalized statues and display cases and stolen jewelry from the museum gift shop. Some of the thieves were caught shortly after the break-in, some of them with relics in their possession, Hawass said.