Tuesday 12 April 2011

Egypt: Renewing the Antiquities Police?

The way this has been announced leaves me confused (Associated Press: Egypt to form special force to protect antiquities, April 12, 2011) Zahi Hawass, Minister of Antiquities is quoted as saying on Tuesday:
a special police force will be set up to protect archaeological sites and museums around the country, following a wave of vandalism and looting. [...] authorities have been unable to protect antiquities because police personnel guarding the ancient sites were not armed.
Well, actually Egypt already has such a police force (and an army unit), and when I was in Egypt last month they were back at their stations (sort of - their vigilance was noticeably lessened compared to last year). They also have weapons, some of them admittedly a bit the worse for wear. So what this announcement means is anyone's guess at the moment.

Anyhow, if site guards in Egypt start shooting at armed gangs of looters, I wonder how collectors will feel buying antiquities bought with men's lives? Will they just shrug shoulders at more blood antiquities on the no-questions-asked market?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess shooting looters has little to do with respectable western dealers has it? They don't buy looted stuff and it’s an internal source-country matter and not something they would poke their noses into.

Now if the Egyptians took to planting irradiated coins on protected sites, that might cause a ripple.....

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