Thursday, February 03, 2011

And into Thursday with more updates


21:01 - Thanks again to Hans van den Berg for letting me know that the website (the Leiden mission) has been updated with some more news: "A reliable source in Cairo (who had this directly from one of the SCA inspectors at Saqqara) confirmed that the Czech magazine at Abusir and the Cairo University magazine at Saqqara have been looted. No confirmation could be had about private tombs. Apparently doors have been forcibly opened but whether reliefs have been taken is not clear. The inspectors themselves have not yet had access to all parts of the site."

13:00 - Al Jazeera have said that people have reported problems accessing their main website and have suggested that viewers experiencing difficulties should access the live feed from their Facebook page instead.

12:20 - Thanks to Cassandra Vivian who has passed on a n email from Neil Hewison who says that the AUC headquarters in Cairo have been harmed, but that matters could have been a lot worse: "Our AUC Press offices were trashed on Friday, by the police. They had broken into the AUC to use the roof of our wing to fire on protestors at the junction of Sheikh Rihan and Qasr al-Aini (we found empty CS canisters and shotgun cartridges up there this morning). Drawers and files emptied, windows broken, cupboards and computers smashed. But it could have been much worse."

12:10 - Updated - Kate has now lifted the blocked her new Looting Database so that visitors from Egypt can now access the site.

12:07 - Thanks to Michael Tilgner who has reported to EEF that articles on the Polish service have said that although the desert-based work of the Polish archaeologists has been undisturbed they may have to return home due to the inability to get money because the banks are closed, although there are currently no plans for evacuation. Apparently the articles also confirm that Deir el Bahri (Luxor west bank) and Berenice (Red Sea coast) are both safe.
Gill Russell reports that everything is still find at Hierakonpolis and that the team are aiming to stay for the season
Daniele Salvoldi says that Francesco Tiradritti's has been in direct contact and is continuing to work on the West Bank, and that the Florentine mission in Antinoe have confirmed by telephone that they are safe, but they might leave early.

10:39 - A photograph of a mummy head has been released this morning on the website. I haven't yet had the chance to check and see which one it is. If anyone knows please can you update me with your view of which mummy it comes from, and your sources if possible.

10:29 - Thanks again to EEF who have posted an email from Peter Brand (Dunavant Professor of Ancient History Department of History, University of Memphis), to say that he talked with Suzanne Onstine today by phone and that was able to work at her tomb today in Luxor (her first day of work). Dr Brand says that she also reports that Otto Schaden in KV and Hourig Sourouzian were working too.
Jane Akshar reports this morning that all is calm in Egypt, where she video'd a peaceful demonstration (which is on her blog).

10:18 - Thre's a new statement from Zahi Hawass which confirms that the museum is currently safe. His view on reports that conflict with his is that they are from people who are trying to make the Egyptians look bad. Here's an exerpt but go to the above page for the full statement.

Again, I want to tell everyone that all the fights and fires in Tahrir Square that many people saw on television yesterday did not affect the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, at all. There were rumors that began last night that claimed the museum was on fire. I was in contact with the control room of the museum all throughout the night. The cameras of the control room can see outside of the museum into the gardens and also outside of the surrounding walls. When some people saw a car burning, they started to say that the museum was burning as well. The people spreading these rumors are idiots, because, as I have been saying in each of my statements, if the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, is safe, Egypt is safe. If there was a fire near the museum, I have the fire department located outside of the museum, and they could quickly control and put out any fire.

I am the only source of continuing truth concerning antiquities, and these rumors are aimed at making the Egyptian people look bad. If anything happens to the museum, I would bravely tell everyone all over the world because I am a man of honor, and I would never hide anything from you. It is from my heart that I tell people everywhere that I am the guardian of these monuments that belong to the whole world.

The Gezira television station has reported that the monuments of Saqqara have been damaged and items were stolen- this is not true. The army is in charge of guarding the site; I called the general there 5 minutes ago (it is now 10:30 am on February 3, 2011), and he informed me that Saqqara is safe and all the monuments are fine; nothing is damaged or stolen. The site of Lisht has excavations run by Dieter Arnold of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The guards of the Lisht monuments called Dieter two days ago to reassure him that they were doing a good job of guarding the site. I want Dieter to know that Lisht is safe and will remain safe.

10:13 - David Gill has highlighted the significant differences between messages about Saqqara from Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass and the reports coming from sources at the site. There's a lot of confusion about the situation at Saqqara. Latest reports indicate that, for example, the Serapeum has been broken into, that ibis mummies have been stolen and that tombs have been broken into, all of which is in direct condradiciton of Hawass's statements that no looting is being carried at at the vast site.

10:09 - The Egyptian Museum seems to have survived unscathed during the night, in spite of the escalation in violence and the use of Molotov cocktails.
Vincent Brown has taken a look at the various stories circulating about the break-ins to the Museum with a view to understanding exactly who was responsible.

I have added some ordinary Egyptology posts below this post. There's a large backlog so bear with me. There will be more in the coming days.

Previous updates on the events unfolding in Egypt, as they relate to heritage and archaeology personnel:


1 comment:

Don Webb said...

I always wondered what would happen if a Ruler of the Two Lands failed at his Heb-Sed and was not reborn after thirty years. Now I know. When I saw the thugs on horseback with swords -- was I the only one who thought Hyskos?

Don Webb