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Airport X-ray finds skeletal body parts hidden inside speakers

Mummified parts were en route to Belgium, authorities report

(Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

A speaker with mummified body parts was caught by airport X-ray machines last week.

Customs authorities at Cairo International Airport in Egypt said the stereo speakers were set to be shipped to Belgium when they were intercepted and seized by authorities, according to Egypt Today.

Because of trouble with its heritage sites, Egypt enacted a law in 1983 that mandated all antiquities, art and artifacts, including mummies, to be strictly regulated and considered the property of Egypt.

But why? Apparently, the items can be in high demand.

Cambridge University reports financial incentives are a key factor in looting and smuggling of antiques, adding that Egyptian antiques sold in 2009 to 2010 totaled more than $13 million.

The mummified body parts found at the Cairo airport were confirmed to be antiquities, according to Egypt Today, and are six parts of two mummies. The body parts include two hands and forearms, an upper arm, two feet, two lower legs and part of a torso, authorities said. It's unclear what the exact dimensions of the stereo speakers were.

For those who aren’t sure how the mummification process works, it was quite a timely process that took about 70 days, to be exact. According to Smithsonian, in short, all internal parts that may decay rapidly were removed, but the heart was left in place. The removed organs were placed in jars and later buried with the body.

The moisture was removed from the body by covering the body with a type of salt, which was later washed off. 

Then, the wrapping took place, as priests wrote prayers and magical words on some of the linen strips, before the mummy was placed in a coffin or burial chamber.

Where the recent mummified parts originated is a mystery for now, but they were expected to be expedited to the Egyptian Museum for inspection and restoration. Information on where the body parts originated from could help in the understanding of Egypt’s ancient civilizations.

The person accused of smuggling the mummified body parts was not identified. Officials have also not said whether that person would be facing charges.

Anyone who is caught attempting to traffic the contraband can face a fine, as well as prison time.


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