Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ewart Hall antiquities, Cairo

Caravan, AUC

Six unnamed suspects have been charged with the theft of 145 artifacts and 50 replicas allegedly stolen from a hidden storage area under Ewart Hall, Old Campus. An investigation has been launched by the Prosecutor’s Office after the AUC administration reported the case to the authorities in March.

Meanwhile, the administration has established its own Investigation Committee to look into the matter, according to a member of the Committee and AUC’s Legal Advisor, Karim Abdel Latif.

“We don’t know if more convicts will turn up [due to the investigation],” he said, adding that not all six defendants, who have been taken into custody, are AUC employees.

Last Tuesday, the administration sent out a press release verifying reports of “what appears to be the theft of antiquities,” yet refrained from any mention of the arrests.

Caravan, AUC

The Caravan’s investigation into the recent theft of antiquities has revealed that in a period spanning several decades AUC faculty and officials collected more than 1,600 artifacts described by Egyptology experts to be ‘of no great significance’ in value.

Ironically, the theft of some of these items brought to light the previously unknown cache stored beneath Ewart Hall.

Renowned Egyptologist and professor emeri­tus Kent R. Weeks told The Caravan that “the ob­jects in Ewart Hall were acquired by then-President Richard Pederson, who for some reason thought it would be nice to have a teaching collection of an­tiquities on campus.”

Weeks said that all the objects were legally ac­quired by the university and registered at the Su­preme Council of Antiquities (SCA).

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