Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sunday updates about Egypt situation

21:30 - There's another update from Hawass on his website entitled "Uninformed Statements and Clarifications".

15:08 - Nevine El-Aref reports, on Ahram Online, that the seventy-odd objects broken during the foiled looting attempt are being restored and will be back to their original condition within five days, following restoration. The statue of Tutankhamun on a black panther, shown on video so sadly broken up on the floor of the museum, has now been restored. Hawass says that steps are being taken to re-open archaeological sites throughout Egypt.

14:47 - Hawass was interviewed on the Andrew Marr Show this morning (a political commentary show, mainly) and speaks almost exclusively about the benefits of leaving Mubarak in power, listing some of the advantages that he believes that Mubark has delivered to Egypt. There's nothing very illuminating about this other than that Hawass, the new Antiquities Minister, is in support of Mubarak. Marr questioned Hawass about the Egyptian Museum and its security and Hawass replied, as he has before, that all sites are safe and that the Cairo Museum will be back to normal shortly. I'm not sure if the interview is in any way relevant to antiquities managagement but I thought I'd add it to the mix. The interview is available to view on the BBC Website (5.36 minutes).

11:57 - Archaeology Magazine's correspondent Mike Elkin has written, has expressed concerns about the conflicting information emerging from eye witness accounts and those of officials in Egypt about, in particular, Saqqara. He has said that matters in Luxor are much less concerning with Myriam Seco confirming that teams are continuing to work at Deir el Medineh, Medinet Habu, Karnak and at her own excavations at the mortuary temple of Thutmosis III.

11:50 - The Society for Archaeological Sciences has issued a statement, signed by 17 organizations, expressing concern about the archaeolgoical history of Egypt, the dispersal and destruction of its tangible and intangible heritage and asking for international co-operation in prevention of the trade of looted items.

11:34 - Thanks to Kate for pointing me at this National Geographic article which says that one of their reporters (Jeffrey Bartholet) thinks that although looters, mainly young people from nearby villages, did swarm the sites at Saqqara and Absur there has been limited, if any, successful looting in the area. Some of the undamaged parts he saw himself, other conclusions he reaches are based on accounts by government officials and the military.
I was stuck quite late at the Saqqara necropolis a few years ago with a friend who was doing research at a number of tombs and we went down into Saqqara village to try to find transport back to Cairo, an intimidating experience because the villager were verbally very hostile to us. We were told by the Saqqara-born driver who eventually agreed to take us as part way that the locals resent the archaeology because it brings tourists and all the inconvenience of tourist traffic to the area without any of the benefit of tourist money. this, he said, was because the coaches drive up to the necropolis and back again, never stopping at the village. If that's true it might account for attempts for local looting at this site where others have been left undisturbed, but that's pure speculation based on one experience - archaeologists working at Saqqara might have a different experience.

11:29 - Owen Jarus reports that work by the Brigham Young team has been suspended at the pyramid of Seila Pyramid (a few miles west of Meidum), one of four pyramids constructed by Snefru.

11:15 - A short story on ArkLaTex (affiliated to NBC Television) website says that protestors returned two stolen artefacts to the Egyptian Museum. There's a video which shows the hand-over but although the quality of that particular scene is very poor they look more like souvenirs than artefacts, but I could well be wrong.

11:12 - Another day of updates gathered onto one post.

My thanks to everyone who took the trouble to send me updates and news items - it made my life so much easier than it would have been! Please do continue to let me know any news about this or any other Egyptology story that you have, now or in the future.

  • Jane Akshar
  • Rhio Barnhart
  • Beverley Butler
  • Homer
  • Daniel Jackson
  • Justine James
  • Owen Jarus
  • Alejandro Jimenez Serrano
  • Christian Knoblauch
  • Kat Newkirk
  • Kate Phizackerley
  • Jan Picton
  • Jo Rowland
  • Geoffrey Tassie
  • Boris A Trivan
  • Hans van den Berg
  • Joris van Wetering
  • Cassandra Vivian
  • Ingeborg Waanders

Many thanks also to Aayko Eyma of the excellent Egyptologists Electronic Forum for permission to copy some of the updates about the safety of mission members and any news about looting (and lack of looting).

My previous updates can be found as follows:




Anonymous said...

The returned artefacts are, as you have reported souvenirs (the souvenir shop of the Egyptian Museum was also looted ;) ) but's a nice gesture of them ...

and here a new Zahi Hawass statement

That's really unbelievable

Best regards

Anonymous said...

A statement of Dr. Friederike Seyfried, Director of Egyptian Museum Berlin.

Best regards

Sorry, it's in German - but maybe Google-Translator do his work ;)