A Cairo official says he expects 118 ancient Egyptian artifacts, which were among thousands belonging to other civilizations found by Italian police over two months ago, to be returned to Egypt.

Shaaban Abdel-Gawad from the Antiquities Ministry's repatriation committee said on Thursday that the artifacts will likely be returned after the Italian police's investigation into the case is finished.

There was no immediate comment from Italy.

Abdel-Gawad told The Associated Press that Egypt was informed two months ago about the seizure by police in the Italian city of Napoli of pottery vessels from different pharaonic eras, sarcophagi parts, coins, as well as artifacts from the Islamic period.

He added the artifacts were likely first found during illegal excavations in Egypt and smuggled out as no museum holds records of them.