UCC to repatriate ancient Egyptian objects

8 Dec 2022
Photograph: Denis Mortell Photography

University College Cork (UCC) announces today that it is to repatriate a number of objects in its Heritage Collection to the Egyptian State.

The items in question include mummified human remains, a sarcophagus, a set of four Canopic jars, and items of cartonnage (coverings) dating variously from 100AD to about 975BCE. UCC came into possession of the mummified remains by donation in 1928.

UCC has been in an ongoing collaboration with the Egyptian Embassy, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the National Museum of Ireland and a plan for the safe preparation and transport of the objects has been developed. It is envisaged that the transfer will take place in 2023.

Speaking on the impending transfer, UCC President Professor John O’Halloran said:

“UCC takes seriously the care of its heritage assets and is pleased to be in a position to present these objects to the Egyptian State. I wish to thank all stakeholders for their assistance in developing a programme for the return of these items, particularly His Excellency Mohamed Sarwat Selim, Egyptian Ambassador to Ireland, Minister Simon Coveney and his officials at the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the National Museum of Ireland.”

His Excellency Mohamed Sarwat Selim, Egyptian Ambassador to Ireland, said:

“I wish to emphasize the utmost importance of the ongoing cooperation between University College Cork and the Egyptian State through the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Dublin, in seeking the return of the Egyptian mummy and the set of the canopic jars to our homeland.

“I wish to thank all stakeholders for their work, particularly, UCC President Professor John O’Halloran, the National Museum of Ireland and the Egyptian officials at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities for their continuous efforts to ensure the completion of this endeavour successfully in 2023.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Simon Coveney TD said:

“I am delighted that my Department, and in particular our Embassy in Cairo, has been able to facilitate and support this important project led by University College Cork and President John O’Halloran and including an ambitious creative programme by one of our finest artists on the global stage, Dorothy Cross.”

The objects’ journey home to Egypt is to be documented in ‘Kinship’ a creative project led by artist Dr Dorothy Cross, and creative producer Mary Hickson.

Speaking on their project, Dr Cross said:

"The essence of Kinship is the return of a mummified body of an Egyptian man from Ireland to Cairo, mirroring the tragic displacement and migration of thousands of people from their homelands today - linking one man through time. Kinship will memorialise his journey through film, writing and visual art.”

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF