Some of the stolen artefacts: a blue glazed ushabti with tools, a wooden Ba statue and one of a pair of blue glazed wings. Courtesy Abington Museum.
Museum staff are appealing to the public after a number of ancient Egyptian artefacts were stolen from Abington Museum in Northampton.
The thieves broke in through a window on the night of May 29, 2005, and took artefacts from a late 19th/early 20th century collection. The items formed an important part of the museum’s Victorian style room, which remains open despite the thief (or thieves) smashing a glass cabinet of curiosities.
"There was a fair amount of damage to the case,” said Will Brown, Information and Resources Manager at Northampton Museum. “They smashed through the top of it and cut out one of the windows."
Mummy beads stolen from the collection. Courtesy Abington Museum.
“They also poured some sort of substance around the room in an attempt to mask their entrance or exit – possibly bleach,” he continued. “The police have taken it away for analysis.”
Other exhibits in the room such as stuffed animals and ceramics weren’t touched. The items that were taken include several ushabti figures, scarab seals, statues and carved articles.
One artefact was broken during the burglary – the thieves grabbed a 17cm-high tomb model, but left behind one of its arms, presumably by rough handling.
The tomb model whose arm was left at the museum. Courtesy Abington Museum.
Asked about his reaction, Will Brown told the 24 Hour Museum: “I was appalled. It’s a real shame that these artefacts have gone missing, lost from the public domain.”
The local press have reported the incident and an appeal has gone out on the Portable Antiquities Scheme website for information on the objects’ whereabouts.
“Hopefully the publicity will help,” said Brown, “but we’ve got to be realistic. We can but hope.”
Also stolen: a carved wooden head, part of the museum's Victorian style Egyptology display. Courtesy Abington Museum.
Anyone with information about the objects’ whereabouts should contact Will Brown, at Northampton Museum on 01604 837279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.