An ancient sarcophagus lid has been sold at an auction house in Cambridgeshire, despite doubts surrounding the legality of how it was acquired.
An ancient Egyptian sarcophagus lid, thought to date from around 330BC, has been sold at auction in England despite attempts by the Egyptian Embassy to repatriate the artefact to its country of origin. The lid, found in a secret room in a seaside home in Essex and sold by Willingham Auctioneers in Cambridgeshire, was thought to have been discovered and taken to England by big game hunter Captain William Sarl. Sarl passed away in 1977, and left the artifact in the house to decay; the lid is infested with wordworm, and Sarl himself performed a poor and heavy-handed paint job on the face of the lid.
This sale of a part of Egyptian history has angered senior officials in the Ministry of Antiquites, with embassy officials going so far as to suggest that the artifact had been “illegally removed from Egypt” due to the lack of any “provenance and an export license.” This comes after the recent sale of an ancient Egyptian statue, which led to a Northampton museum losing its accreditation from the UK Arts Council)