Views, both pro and con, regarding what should be done about a proposed Memorandum of Understanding with Egypt that among other things addresses private ownership of ancient Egyptian coins were presented recently at a meeting of the U.S. State Department’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee.
It is the import of antiquities including ancient coins into the United States from Egypt that is being discussed. There is concern among archaeologists and others that illegal activities including plundering and smuggling are impacting archaeological dig sites and other institutions.
The CPAC hearing was held to address Egypt’s request for a ban on the import of artifacts dating between pre-historic times through the time of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire fell in the early 20th century during World War I. Archaeological groups began lobbying the U.S. government to place a ban on the import of Egyptian artifacts in 2011. The U.S. State Department took no action on the requests at that time. Since then the Arab Spring revolution took place.