Ma'adi Artifacts

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Date: Predynastic Period, ca. 3500-3000 BC
Material: Various
Provenance: Ma'adi (outside Cairo)
Details: 370 objects, mostly vessels of pottery and stone
Excavated: Between 1930 and 1953, by I. Rizkhana and J. Seeher for Cairo University and the German Institute in Cairo

Status: Of 370 objects known to be missing, 98 have been recovered.

In 2002, thieves looted the Cairo University Museum/Magazine in Ma'adi. An inventory done immediately after the theft counted 370 objects missing, mostly Predynastic vessels. The remaining objects were moved to another SCA magazine, and the museum was closed.

With the assistance of a number of scholars and institutions, including the US Department of Homeland Security, four groups of these Ma'adi objects have been recovered.

The first group to be returned had been offered for sale by Bonham's auction house on October 28, 2004. Curators at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York spotted them and alerted the SCA. These were returned to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, on March 15, 2005.

Another single vessel was recovered, with the assistance of the US Department of Homeland Security, from Christie's auction house in London.

The US Department of Homeland Security sezied another 79 of the stolen objects, which were in the possession of various auction houses. They had been consigned to these houses by Edward “Dutch” Johnson, a US army pilot who smuggled at least 100 of the artifacts out of Egypt. Mr. Johnson was convicted and sentenced in US court for smuggling. The artifacts were returned to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo on December 15, 2008.

Eight of the Ma'adi vessels were purchased by a Swiss collector, who voluntarily returned them to the SCA in 2009.

The remaining objects are still missing. Any information as to their whereabouts would be greatly appreciated by the SCA.

The Mask of Ka-nefer-nefer, stolen from Egypt and currently in the possession of the St. Louis Museum of Art (St. Louis Museum of Art)

A "top hat" vessel from Ma'adi, recovered from Christie's auction house.