Egypt's Antiquities Ministry has recovered some of the national treasures that went missing from the Egyptian Museum during an uprising which forced president Hosni Mubarak to step down, the country's top Egyptologist said on Monday.
Items including a statue of King Tutankhamun and objects from the era of the Pharaoh Akhenaten went missing when looters broke into the museum during mass protests that engulfed the streets around the museum in central Cairo.
But Zahi Hawass, recently named minister of state for antiquities affairs, said in a statement that some objects including a Heart Scarab and a small Ushabti statue were found.
Part of a coffin dating back to the Modern Kingdom 3,000 years ago was also found outside the museum.
"We found two of the eight missing artifacts outside the museum between a government building that got burnt and the gift shop. We are continuing the search and will find more," Hawass told Reuters.
The museum’s director, Tarek al-Awadi, told AFP the recovered pieces had been found in the museum gardens.
Egypt’s antiquities ministry said on Sunday that looters who raided the museum during the unrest at the start of the protests had made off with several pieces.
The plundered artifacts include a gilded wooden statue showing the boy pharaoh being carried by a goddess and parts of another statue of him harpooning fish.
Hawass said that one of 11 wooden statuettes of Yuya, a powerful courtier from the time of a dynasty that ruled along the banks of the Nile 3,000 years ago, had been recovered.
Artifacts still missing include a statue of Akhenaten's wife Nefertiti making offerings, a stone statuette of a scribe from Amarna and the torso and upper limbs of a gilded wood statue of Tutankhamun.
Hawass said thieves also attacked a storehouse near the pyramids of Dahshour 35 km (21.75 miles) south of Cairo on Sunday, the second attack on the site in days.
Founded in 1858 by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, the museum contains more than 100,000 artifacts, including the world renowned and reputedly cursed treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb.
The best-known artifact is Tutankhamun’s gold funerary mask, which stares out from a case on the first floor of the museum, and was not taken. The 18th dynasty monarch, better known as King Tut, ruled in the 13th century BC.