Monday, July 18, 2005

New tactics to secure return of Egyptian artefacts
New tactics are being employed concerning the return of items to Egypt that are alleged to have been removed without permission: "Egypt demanded that institutions in Britain and Belgium return two pharaonic reliefs it says were chipped off tombs and stolen 30 years ago, threatening Sunday to end their archaeological work here if they refuse . . . . Zahi Hawass, the secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said he would cut off the Catholic University's excavation mission at a site in Deir al-Barsha, near the southern town of Minya, if the relief was not returned, and would suspend the Fitzwilliam Museum's 'scientific relationship' with archaeologists working here if the British institution did not cooperate." Apparently they have already used the tactic successfully on another museum in Belgium. The two reliefs concerned are reported to be 4,400-year-old reliefs, taken from two tombs uncovered in 1965 near the Step Pyramid at Saqqara. See the article for more, including a quote on the subject from Zahi Hawass.

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