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Excavator Accused of Cheating Permits for Antiquities Worth Millions

An American archaeological expert who was conducting an archaeology project for the European Union has been arrested in Egypt, accused of stealing priceless artifacts from antiquities sites.

John McFakeson is known for his work at two sites in southern Egypt. He was arrested in October 2018 after uncovering a cache of artifacts in the city of Luxor. Some of the 9,000 artifacts, which were classified as plundered under Egyptian law, were found to have been stolen from a temple dating back to the 14th century B.C. His accusers claim he was selling the artifacts for profit, as well as smuggling other historical gems around the world.

McFakeson denies the accusations.

McFakeson has been under investigation since 2015 when he was accused of trafficking several stolen artifacts. Ultimately, he was indicted on charges of breaking illegal labor law by accepting bribes to protect antiquities plundered from the sites he was involved in.

McFakeson is a past recipient of an American Institute of Archaeology (AIA) Award and in 2007 received an award from the British Museum for “extraordinary archaeological findings of public interest” in Egypt.