Tuesday, 17 May 2011

US Government to Impose Import Restrictions on Egyptian Antiquities?

Zahi Hawass indicates on his blog that the topics of discussions in Cairo with delegates from the US have included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Ministry of State for Antiquities. It was reported that in the light of the current situation, the US government is willing to impose emergency import restrictions on Egyptian antiquities. Let us see what comes of this, it would be very interesting to see all importers of Egyptian antiquities in the US actually have to produce documentation of licit export. That will make a lot of dealers uneasy, but is good news for responsible antiquity collectors in the US who care about the ethical hygiene of their collections and want to avoid buying tainted antiquities of dubious origins.

A number of other measures were proposed to modernise the processes of heritage management in Egypt along the lines of models adopted in the US and Europe.
The Coalition will be drafting a formal agreement between the US and Egyptian governments. The Egyptian government will be represented by the Ministry of State for Antiquities and, as soon as the agreement is signed, all of these important projects will be implemented.
Z. Hawass, 'The International Coalition to Support Protection of Egyptian Antiquities', Zahi Hawass's blog, 17/5/2011

Vignette: To be effective, scarabs, shabtis, mummy fragments and of course ancient coins should be among those things on the new MOU.

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