Wednesday 2 February 2011

Hawass Assures: Egypt's Antiquities are Protected


Zahi Hawass, Egypt's new antiquities minister, assures us that ancient sites and artefacts are protected.

Everything is safe, because the police have come. But, in the case of the antiquities/tourist police, where were they earlier? Who sent them away and why? Will any of them be punished for dereliction of duty?

So let's get this right, these criminals as soon as they just happened to have simultaneously "escaped" from jail hitched a lift to the nearest archaeological site and started looting artefacts. To my mind the first place I'd go to loot while on the run would be a food shop. I think looting whopping great fragments of statues and reliefs from the Memphis museum for example while on the run would be pretty far down on my list of priorities. I could not guarantee that I'd run into anybody to buy them from me later. Its pretty difficult running with a knapsack full of stones [oh, you'd have to loot a sports goods shop first to get the knapsack].

The events surrounding this looting certainly seem to beg a lot of questions. Let us hope somebody in the new government gets to the bottom of it to ensure the further protection of the monuments.

Photo: Dr Zahi Hawass.

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