Customs officers collaborated with experts from the University of Memphis Institute of Egyptian Art and Archeology to examine the item. They determined that it was the lid of a canopic jar, which was used to hold the internal organs of mummies. The lid was modeled after the funerary deity Amseti, who helped protect the deceased’s liver after death.
According to the release, experts date the lid to Egypt’s Third Intermediate Period. This period fell between 1069 BC and 653 BC, so the lid is possibly 3,000 years old.
The lid is protected under the 1983 Convention on the Implementation of Cultural Property, which prohibits the importation of certain archaeological and ethnographic materials into the United States.
The release explained that customs officials seized the sample after the shipper gave conflicting statements about its value.
The cover was then turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for further testing.