Thursday, April 05, 2012

Can the Red List protect Egypt's heritage

Egypt Independent  (Fatma Keshk)

The much-celebrated scene of protesters creating a human shield around the Egyptian Museum in Cairo in the early days of the revolution is still fresh in our minds. People fought for many things, among which is safeguarding their cultural heritage. Still, numerous storerooms and archaeological sites across the country like Establ Antar, Al-Lisht, and Al-Hibeh continue to be looted. The most recent case was in Qubbet Effendina, a cemetery of Khedive Tawfik in Eastern Cairo, from which two historic kiswas of Kaaba were stolen in March.
Reinstating security seems like the most imperative solution. But, much of the problem is also due to the lack of proper documentation of millions of objects scattered in museums and storehouses around the country, making it difficult to identify and trace stolen artifacts.

Although register books of artifacts do exist in museums and storerooms, a proper and unified computerized registration system has never been established by antiquities authorities. Such a system would save much effort and time because, besides protection and security problems, Egypt suffers from a real gap in the documentation of its invaluable ancient artifact

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