Saturday, February 05, 2011

Saturday updates re Egypt events

20:30 - I am off out for the evening but if you have any news please let me know because I'll be back tomorrow morning.

17:36 - The CultureGrrl blog has posted a very detailed account from Saqqara and Absuir that contradict the earlier releases from Hawass and also various unofficial accounts. As I have said before, it is immensely frustrating not to know what to believe.

17:29 - Jane Akshar has reported that there were only 35 visitors to Karnak today, as opposed to the usual several thousand, and that Karnak remains safe and unharmed. She also says that some of the archaeological team members that had been working there have stayed to work there, whilst others have left.

15:50 - Nevine El-Aref has written an update about Hawass's responses to international concerns regarding Egytian antiquities and his rejection of international "supervision." Most of the article repeats what has already been said by Hawass in his other statements.

15:14 - Another update from Zahi Hawass. The main points that he makes are that the photos of skulls at the Egyptian Museum are unidentified non-Royal Late Period mummies, that the Memphis Museum was not looted, that a wooden boat at the Egyptian Museum identified by the National Geographic as harmed is in fact unharmed, and that Saqqara tombs (including that of Maia) are undamaged probably due to looters having been scared away. He says that a water pipe broke at the Grand Egyptian Museum site, that the water was cleared away and that the GEM is looking good for a 2012 soft launch of one gallery. He visited Giza and says that it is fully protected but of course empty of tourists. He reports that most sites are safe but that ast night, the operation room in Zamalek received a message that an attempted break-in had been made at the storage magazine of Tell el Fara’in, Kafr el-Sheikh Governorate. but that villagers and the security staff of the Ministry of Antiquities were able to catch two of the thieves, who were handed over to the Tourist Police.

15:06 - Margaret Maitland on her excellent Eloquent Peasant blog has asked the question History is in the making, but can we piece it back together again? A well informed article that poses some important questions.

14:50 - Rossella Lorenzi on Discovery News has been talking about the difficulties attached to the identification of the mummies shown in some of the photos released over the last few days. Chuffed to bits that she quotes Kate Phizackerley extensively! The assembled wisdom from this and other articles is that they are probably non-Royal mummies and may have been kept in a lab rather than a display cabinet. We'll find out eventually, I hope.

11:41 - Concerns about the short term future of American tourism in Egypt are expressed in an LA Times article.

10:37 - Writing on the Berkeley Blog (UC Berkeley), Rosemary Joyce has considered how the photos of damaged mummies have been interpreted by the media and their viewers/readers, in particular a comment on one post that Egyptian artefacts are part of global heritage: "We need to be cautious about what interests are being advanced in these stories, which on closer examination get more complicated than at first telling."

10:24 - Thanks to Nigel Hetherington's Facebook post for the link to SCA employee Ramadan B. Hussein's comments about the Egyptian Museum and damage to sites in Egypt. It repeats much of what Hawass has said already. Amusingly he points out that although the gift shop was largely emptied, the only thing left behind by the thieves were books.

10:13 - There's an article by Jonathan Berr on the Daily Finance which looks at concern in the West about the status of Egypt's archaeology and museums and the worries about looted items working their way out of Egypt.

10:07- ICOM (International Council of Museums) statement (available as a PDF) about the status of the museum and other sites in Egypt, to the best of their knowledge. There is also a list of useful resources for more information at the end of the statement.

10:02 - I'm not expecting a great deal of actual news today about the status of the archeaology and heritage of Egypt, but there will probably be an increasing number of comments emerging in the media as the protest itself becomes less obviously dramatic, and I would imagine that there will be more statements for international organizations and museums. It seems worth tracking them on the one post, as before.

Ordinary Egyptology news items have been added below this post.

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


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