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Home > teachers > Ancient Civilisations  > Thieves Smash Glass Case To Steal Ancient Egyptian Treasures

Thieves Smash Glass Case To Steal Ancient Egyptian Treasures

June 02 2005

Thieves broke into Abingdon Museum on Sunday night, smashed open a glass display case and stole a clutch of Ancient Egyptian treasures.

Ancient Egyptian carved wooden head

This beautiful carved wooden head was one of the objects stolen.

The objects were on display in the Museum's 'Victorian Room' along with some ceramics and stuffed animals. Only the Egyptian objects were stolen.

It looks as if the thieves tried to destroy any clues by pouring some sort of liquid over the display case, the floor and the windowsill. Police have taken away samples of the liquid for testing, but think it was probably bleach.

These delicate 'Mummy beads' were taken too.

A delicate necklace of beads, found on an Ancient Egyptian mummy.

We spoke to Will Brown, who works at the Museum, to find out more. To begin with we asked him how he felt when he discovered the treasures had been stolen.

Will said, "I was appalled. It's a real shame that these artefacts have gone missing, lost from the public domain."

Blue glazed ushabti figure from an Ancient Egyptian tomb.

This is one of the two ushabtis stolen in the raid. Ushabtis are small statues of mummies, which were placed in Ancient Egyptian tombs.

Archaeologists believe ushabtis were put into tombs to act as servants when the dead person entered the next world.

This little cosmetics pot was also stolen. Imagine... once upon a time a woman living in Ancient Egypt probably used this very pot for her face cream.

Small cream-coloured ceramic pot.

Terracotta clat tomb model from Ancient Egpytian tomb with jointed arms

This tomb model was broken in the raid - one of the arms came off when thieves grabbed it. They left the broken arm behind but stole the rest of the figure.

The raid has been reported in local newspapers in the hope that someone will recognise the objects and tell museum staff.

There are also photographs of all of the stolen objects on the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) website. Just in case you come across any of the treasures, Will's contact details are on that page too.

(The PAS is the organisation which keeps track of archaeological finds in England and Wales.)

If you'd like to find out more about life and death in Ancient Egypt, check out Show Me's Ancient Civilisations section!

All photos on this page © and courtesy of Northampton Museums.

Anra Kennedy