Thursday, February 17, 2011

Official news - Akhenaten statue returned, but bad news from other sites (Zahi Hawass)

With photo of the returned artefact.

Today, I announced that the missing limestone statue of King Akhenaten, the father of Tutankhamun, has been returned to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. This unique statue, which dates from the Amarna Period (ca. 1353-1336 B.C.), is 37 centimeters high and depicts the king standing, wearing a blue crown, and holding an offering table in his outstretched hands. The statue is made of painted limestone, and stands on a base of Egyptian alabaster.

I was informed that a sixteen-year-old male, one of the protestors at Tahrir Square, had found the statue of Akhenaten near the southern wall of the museum, and took it home. The boy's family immediately called the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs to arrange for the statue's return to the Museum.

Last night, at the Antiquities and Tourism Police station at Cairo Opera House, an archaeological committee headed by Dr. Youssef Khalifa, Director of the Stolen Antiquities Department of the Ministry, accepted the statue of Akhenaten from Dr. Abdel Rahman. The committee confirmed its authenticity and identified it as the missing sculpture.

The offering table held between the hands of the statue was found earlier in the museum itself, so the statue will need to be restored.

Bad news from Hawass and his office are as follows:

  • At Saqqara, the tomb of Hetepka was broken into, and the false door may have been stolen along with objects stored in the tomb. A committee will visit the tomb on Saturday to compare the alleged damage with earlier expedition photos.
  • Also at Saqqara strage magazines were broken into. A committee will report on what, if anything, is missing from those magazines
  • In Abusir, a portion of the false door was stolen from the tomb of Rahotep
  • The military have interrupted thieves attempting to loot the site of Tell el Basta and Lisht.
  • Inspections are being made at other archaeological sites where illegal digging and looting have been reported.

Hawass has also announced that Coptic, Islamic, and modern sites would reopen to the public on Sunday, 20 February, 2011. The decision was made in consultation with the Antiquities and Tourism Police.

[NB - Sites in Luxor are reported to be open already and are more than ready to welcome visitors].

1 comment:

kat newkirk said...

"•The military have interrupted thieves attempting to loot the site of Tell el Basta..."

But how soon until the extent of the damage is known?