The Metropolitan Museum in New York City has acquired a small group of artifacts formerly held by the St. Louis Society of the AIA. This group of artifacts had been legally excavated and exported from Egypt in 1914, and held in storage in St. Louis awaiting conservation and display, first at the Saint Louis Art Museum and then at a new museum at Washington University in St. Louis. Neither institution was able to do so.

The St. Louis Society had originally acquired the artifacts in gratitude for its support of the work of Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, discoverer of the Merneptah stele. The artifacts were most recently studied and documented by Dr. Robert Steven Bianchi in 2013.

The transfer of the artifacts to the Metropolitan Museum was assisted by Bonhams. The Metropolitan Museum has not disclosed the price it paid. The St. Louis Society will use funds from the Metropolitan Museum to re-establish its "Community Archaeology" program, aimed at encouraging interest in science and archaeology in students 10 to 14 years old. The program began in 1988 and was last supported by the St. Louis Society in 2003.

Posted 6 October 2014