Monday, 2 May 2011

More Museum Confusion (part 2), "notorious" in some circles maybe, but not for that

As I mentioned in the post above, Cairo based Egyptologist Nicole Hansen put a text up on a facebook group of 1000 members about the Cairo Egyptian Museum. It is apparently a message from Yasmin El-Shazly head of documentation at Cairo Museum. I cited the first part about an alleged mixup of photographs above. Here is what she writes in the second part:
By the way, Yasmin also asked me to relay the following message, because Paul censored and did not approve her message when she replied to his attack on her on his own blog: If any of you, especially Paul due to his background in medieval European coins that makes him more knowledgeable about the artifacts in the Egyptian Museum than the museum's own staff, find any inconsistencies or errors in the list that she compiled of the stolen artifacts, then kindly send them to Yasmin directly so she can correct them.
Well, first of all, I am not at all sure which of my posts here qualifies for the label "attack on her". She wrote critically of me on the Facebook page mentioned above - as is her right - I answered her here, as is my right. I also wrote to her perfectly civilly privately - which she either did not receive or is ignoring.

Certainly if she sent something through blogger here, I did not receive it. I would encourage her to send it again. I certainly would not have "censored" or rejected her reply, even if I disagreed with it. We are on the same side after all. So Yasmin, send it again, please - or to the email address I sent you and I'll post it for you.

But Yasmin, I really must take exception to the comment: "Paul due to his background in medieval European coins that makes him more knowledgeable about the artefacts in the Egyptian Museum than the museum's own staff". In your earlier text you labelled me "notorious", so that suggests you actually know something about me. What is this nonsense about Medieval coins? I am not a coiney !! How dare you !! (that's in ironic script) The coin collecting fraternity also will be mightily angered that you count me as one of their number as I gather I have a certain notoriety among a section of them, and its not for my "background in Medieval European coins"...

Certainly I do not claim to be "more knowledgeable about the artefacts in (or missing from) the Egyptian Museum than the museum's own staff". Like the Museum's staff and many other people (look at the news coverage you are getting) I am concerned about what happened on 28th January, I am concerned that there is so much confusion about what actually happened and who actually was involved.* Why is it wrong, in your opinion, to ask questions when something is left unclear - especially when it seems that the lack of clarity is deliberate?

And by the way, it was Vincent Brown, not me, who was the one to spot that the artefact in the photographs was not the one the press release says. I just assumed that if the Egyptian authorities say it is the one they say it is, it is.

Like it or not, interest in ancient Egypt, the Egyptian Museum and the global antiquities trade is international. On 29th January we all saw a shocking video of bits strewn across the floor of your museum. While I am sure most members of staff of your museum knew full well what most of the bits on the floor were, it was left to bloggers here (Margaret Maitland in particular), unaided as far as I am aware by anyone from the Museum, to try and work out what pieces were affected. From the beginning, we were told one thing and all saw something quite different. This was the beginning of the attempts of some people to try and piece together the conflicting pieces of evidence to reach some kind of understanding. Even today the museum staff seems to be doing very little to aid that process, and whatever information emerges still seems intended to sow the seeds of confusion. Like your "wrong photo" shabti-story (see above). You complained that you are getting too little support, how about first a little openness with those you expect to support you?

But certainly, I hope people send any "inconsistencies or errors in the list" of the missing artefacts, which Yasmin, it now turns out, compiled so she can correct them. It would be helpful if she could give out with such a request/ suggestion / offer an email address to which they can be sent...

*(for the reasons I indicated when I wrote to you privately, if you did not get it, send me another email address and I will try again).

Vignette: denar of Mieszko II king of Poland... (it's a fake, not a dugup, so OK to collect )

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