Monday, 2 May 2011

Archaeological Looting in Egypt, on a Greater Scale than Admitted?

The piece by Kent Weeks Can Egypt Protect Its Ancient Monuments? addresses a concern I raised here earlier. He mentions in passing the looting of archaeological sites that started with the outbreak of political instability:
"Gangs of armed treasure hunters took advantage of the chaos and began plundering ancient tombs and antiquities storerooms throughout Egypt. The robberies are ongoing and thought to exceed 400 incidents so far".
Four hundred incidents is a far higher figure than has been emerging from Egypt where the lack of news perhaps tends to create the impression that with the recreation of the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs and re-establishment of site guards, the crisis is over. It seems from what Weeks says, we were seeing only the beginning.

Once again we see antiquities, and reliable information about them, the pawn of political agendas. Yet if there is to be any concerted action outside Egypt to deal with the trade in illictly-obtained artefacts, the problem of the ongoing looting needs to be kept in the public eye. For this to have any credibility this needs to have more substance than the loud triumphant trumpeting repatriation of a few antiquities now and then of doubtful authenticity as we have seen in the past few days.

Where are the inventories of the looted storerooms? Why is there not an online register of what is missing? This is what the 1970 UNESCO Convention requires Egypt to do (Article 5g) if it is to hope for effective international support in getting the stolen goods returned. The outside world can't help Egypt if Egypt does not supply the information needed to help it !

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.