MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG)– A potentially 3,000-year-old ancient Egyptian artifact is going back into the right hands after it was seized at a Memphis port, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Thursday.
The stone sculpture was shipped from Europe to a private buyer in the U.S. It was seized on August 17.
CBP worked with subject matter experts at the University of Memphis Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology to determine the artifact’s authenticity.
CBP said they discovered it is a canopic jar lid of the funeral deity named Imseity. Canopic jars were used to hold the internal organs of mummies. Imseity is known in Egyptian culture to protect the deceased’s liver.
It was also determined that the lid is likely from the Egyptian Third Intermediate Period between 1069 BC to 653 BC, making it potentially 3,000 years old.
According to CBP, the artifact was seized because it is on a list of items protected by bilateral treaties and the shipper made contradictory statements about the item’s value.
It was turned over to Homeland Security Investigators.