.Several web-media have covered the story of the impending appearance of an updated list of items missing from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo after the events of 28th January 2011. There has been a leaked version of dubious authenticity circulating. This indicates the number of items that we should have been looking out for on the international antiquities market over the past weeks as numbered in the hundreds, rather than tens. The report was due to be published on Sunday, but has still not appeared.
The reason is not far to seek, its compilation was required by the Minister of Antiquities Affairs, Zahi Hawass… who by Sunday was no longer the Minister. It seems the Museum is not only unable in the space of some five weeks to produce even a list – let alone photos of the missing objects, but even sees no need to do so when there is not somebody like Hawass inciting them to do their job. Because accounting for what has happened to the cultural items under their care is precisely what their job consists of. Surely at the basis of any collection is proper documentation. The world is looking on with continuing dismay as each day passes without any information and wondering just what kind of documentation this long established museum collection actually has. Whatever type it is, it is obviously inadequate to the task in hand.
How many other modern measures put in place by the former Head of the SCA and Minister of Antiquities have similarly gone by the board while waiting for the current political uncertainty to resolve itself?