Monday 14 February 2011

Cairo Museum: Two Missing Museum Objects Reported Found

On Monday Zahi Hawass announced the recovery of at least two of 18 relics reported missing from the Egypt's main museum in Cairo after it was looted on 28th January. Searchers reportedly found the heart scarab of Yuya and one of the shabti statuettes from the same tomb that had been reported missing the day before, they were found on the ground outside of the museum's display areas (Al Ahram reports "on the east side of the Museum, near the gift shop"). It appeared the thieves threw the scarab outside the museum, Hawass said. The other objects lost, including the other 10 Shabti statues stolen remain missing. Hawass expressed the hope that "at least some of the missing items may be buried (sic) on the museum's grounds".

None of the western newspapers hastened to pick up the story that it was a symbolic heart which was found on Valentine's Day. Did the shabti and scarab drop out of an overfilled knapsack, or was this the sole loot of one member of a larger gang, one who'd been operating in the the Yuya and Tuya gallery? Very odd that nobody spotted them earlier, its not as if the museum has very extensive grounds, or particularly long grass, and earlier reports suggested that Museum staff had searched all around the Museum and up on its roof for the missing bits for two weeks before producing the list of what was actually missing. Also if any more have been lying out there for two weeks with the army tramping around and at least one night that was rainy, one wonders what sort of state the wooden artefacts would be in.

Al Ahram: Looted artifacts from Egyptian museum found reports the recovery of a piece of the coffin damaged in the raid which was not on the list of the stolen objects. But what an odd 'object' to take, a chunk of wood is hardly comparable to the other items reported missing. This was reportedly dropped by the looter when outside the museum, but (if it turns out it was big enough), perhaps he'd taken it in order to smash showcase glass (or maybe use if to defend himself against any guard who might try to stop him). Curiouser and curiouser.

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