Saturday, January 29, 2011

Museums under threat?

It is very difficult to get a clear view of what is going on in Egypt at the moment, but for the most part heritage seems to have been clear of threat. Exceptions are a report on Al Masry Al Youm of an Alexandria museum in flames, but I haven't seen this reported elsewhere.

There's a video on the BBC showing the Egyptian Museum with the party headquarters with smoke pouring out in the background.

Possibly more worrying, is the Guardian report, also on Reuters, that protestors broke into the Egyptian Museum and did damage to two mummies there. Zahi Hawass quoted:

Egyptian state television reports that looters broke into the Egyptian Museum during protests last night and destroyed two ancient mummies, Reuters reports.

Human chain Egyptians make a human chain around an army tank in Tahrir Square as they help to protect Cairo's museum

Archaeologist Zahi Hawass, chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said: "I felt deeply sorry today when I came this morning to the Egyptian Museum and found that some had tried to raid the museum by force last night. Egyptian citizens tried to prevent them and were joined by the tourism police, but some [looters] managed to enter from above and they destroyed two of the mummies."

The museum in central Cairo, which has the world's biggest collection of Pharaonic antiquities, is adjacent to the headquarters of Mubarak's NDP party, which protesters set ablaze yesterday.

The museum houses tens of thousands of objects in its galleries and storerooms, including most of the King Tutankhamen collection.

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