Saturday 23 April 2011

Egypt: A Dearth of News on Looting, Has it Stopped?

There seems to be a slow-up in the news coming out of Egypt on the looting of sites, does this mean it has stopped? Or does it mean that now there are new "guns and guards protecting Egypt's sites" its not really politic to admit that its still going on? Or are we not hearing about it because it is no longer hot news?

It may well be that the looting of storerooms has come to a stop for the moment, but this should not blind us to the fact that somewhere out there are an uncounted number of items already stolen from them. Not much has been said about whether any inventories of the stolen items will be made available, when and in what form - or whether they even exist for some of the places attacked.

What about the open sites? We heard of digging going on at a number of places in middle and lower Egypt (oddly very little from Upper Egypt) has this really stopped, or is it now not easy to see where fresh holes are, and/or it is no longer so newsworthy as it was when it started?

I hope Kate Phizackerley continues to update her Looting database, quite apart from its value as a historical document (efforts of the Egyptological community to gather information despite the fact that attempts were made to withhold, steer and block it by the Egyptian authorities), it is a useful resource for keeping this problem in the public eye. If people come across fresh reports of looting, please forward them to the database.

Egyptological Looting Database 2011: A Site by Site Database of the Damage to Antiquites in Egypt on, run by Kate Phitzackerley


Kate Phizackerley said...

Thanks Paul

I have certainly not abandoned the database but there has been no new news. I crawled through Twitter the other day because that has sometimes turned up reports but I didn't find anything.

I hope looting has stopped. Do I believe it has? No. Reduced maybe, but the cessation of news coincides with the Hawass reappointment and that makes me suspicious that some people may now feel it's injudicious to talk. It's even noticeable on Facebook that some people who were vehemently critical of Hawass when they thought he had gone are now being more reticent.

Paul Barford said...

Thanks for dropping by Kate,
I cannot see that it is likely that it has stopped, maybe spread out to more remote sites. Anyway I am glad you intend to keep the database going, please do.

I must say I found the Hawass-bashing by some people when he 'went' a most unedifying spectacle (however one assesses what he did or said as head of the SCA).

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