Friday, July 23, 2010

SCA website

Supreme Council of Antiquities (English (Arabic)

There's been a lot of talk recently about the SCA website and the information it contains about which sites are open and what ticket prices cost.

The site is available in both Arabic and English. It is nicely designed and easy to navigate.

Whilst there is a lot of very good material on the website my advice would be to take the information about which sites are currently open, their opening hours and ticket prices with a pinch of salt. The last time that the "breaking news" column was updated was back in March and I have heard from a number of people that the site opening hours and ticket information are out of date and should not be relied upon when planning a holiday. Having said that, using the ticket prices shown as approximate prices might be a useful guideline for those trying to stick to a budget. Other site information, such as how to get to sites, tends to be unchanging and should be of use to many visitors. There's also a set of guidelines to visitors about how to conduct themselves at sites, which includes details of how to get access to sites that are officially closed.

The SCA website has many things in its favour, including a list of current and recent foreign missions working in Egypt. I don't know how complete it is, but it gives a good idea of who is working in different parts of Egypt at the moment, and gives web addresses for a few of the missions. There is also a list of museums in Egypt, some of which are linked to pages on the site which offer more details.

Of particular value is the list of SCA rules and regulations - for exhibitions, media, missions and museums. If you've never looked at the SCA's 5 page regulations for missions before they are worth a read. Here are the General Guidelines.

General Guidelines:
1. Until further notice, no new excavations will be permitted in Upper Egypt (defined as from Giza to Abu Simbel). Missions already working in this area may continue excavating in their original concessions, but no new excavations will be authorized there. Concessions will only be granted in this area for restoration, preservation, archaeological survey, documentation, and epigraphic work.
2. New applications for excavation concessions will be accepted only for the Western Desert, Eastern Desert, and the Delta, areas that are seriously threatened by the increasing population, rising ground water, and other human and environmental pressures, for the next ten years.
3. No new concession will be given to a current team member wanting to create a new excavation area within the site granted to the mission.
4. No concessions will be given to graduate students. Graduate students can obtain permission for study or research on archaeological sites through his or her thesis advisor.
5. No concession will be granted to any expedition director who does not have significant experience in the field.
6. The SCA prohibits missions from working at more than one site at the same time.
7. It is absolutely prohibited for any member of a mission to be involved in any way with the trade in stolen artifacts. Members of foreign missions are expected to provide any information they have regarding stolen artifacts directly to the Secretary General of the SCA. Anyone determined by a court of law to be involved with stolen artifacts will be removed from the excavation. If the director is involved, the mission will be terminated.
8. Egypt will not cooperate with any museum or institution that buys stolen artifacts from Egypt.

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