Wednesday 3 February 2010

Egypt Antiquities Bill Approved

After a controversy which became at times rather heated, the People's Assembly (the lower House of Egypt's parliament yesterday approved the new Antiquities Bill. Part of the controversy focussed on the definition of the term "antiquity" (which has now been defined as anything older than 100 years and is so considered due to artistic and historical value).

Another point of contention was Article 8 which bans the trade, or anty other
form of disposal of antiquities unless there is a written consent from the
Supreme Council of Antiquities, it also states that the Council has the right to
take the antiquity away from its owner for a reasonable compensation in return".
(Egyptian Mail, Tuesday Feb. 2, 2010).

The new law has now to be passed by the Upper House. The"no-questions asked antiquities dealers support group" like to represent the "retentive" laws of the source countries from which they want to import fresh dugups as "unreasonable" and pretend the finder of artefacts is not rewarded - let us see whether they give the creators of this new law (including Zahi Hawass in the picture) due credit.

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