Thursday 28 April 2011

Good News from Egypt: Antiquities Security Expertise Sought

Good news from Egypt, the Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, Zahi Hawass, met today with an Iraqi delegation representing their foreign affairs, interior, justice and museums ministries (Nevine El-Aref , 'Egypt to share expertise with Iraqi museums and archaeologists in the staging of exhibitions and reclamation of artefacts abroad', Ahram 28 Apr 2011). several topics were discussed during the meeting, "among them Egypt’s contribution in protecting [Iraq’s] archaeological heritage and retrieving its illegally looted and smuggled antiquities as well as the construction of new museums and storehouses".
The Iraqi delegation asked the ministry of state for antiquities affairs to provide them with Egyptian experts to help them in the establishment of exhibitions and administering archaeological exhibitions abroad. They also discussed different means of cooperation between the museums and field of antiquities in both countries. Hawass was more than ready to help the Iraqi people in their efforts to return back their artefacts from foreign countries and museums abroad [...] [Dr] Hawass also asked the Iraqi team to provide a list of all the required Iraqi objects to distribute it among museums around the world and the international media.
Along with his own of the objects missing from the storerooms and monuments recently looted no doubt. Maybe instead of a paper list, this should be set up as a searchable website for museums and dealers to check, like a specifically archaeological version of the "stolen Art register". There was another heartening snippet of information:
He also invited Iraq to attend the second international conference for the restitution of artefacts to be held soon in Cairo.
I recall a revision of the 1970 UNESCO Convention was due to be on the cards for that one, a topic which Iraq has recently also been broaching, this could be interesting.

There is a much fuller account with slightly differing details on Dr Hawass' blog

Vignette: The Iraqi delegation arrives at the ministry...

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