Tuesday 2 August 2011

Shambles, no Other Word for it

It took the staff of the Cairo Egyptian Museum an inordinate amount of time to create a list of the objects that went missing during the vandalism and looting of the museum on 28th January 2011. Too long for a modern museum. Even then, the first version was somewhat "lacking" in several ways. The second version was marginally better. Then various objects began turning up under odd circumstances. None more odd than the two that were never missing (Youm 7: 'Two archeological pieces of Egyptian Museum found', Aug 2, 2011):
Two Egyptian archeological pieces were found in the Egyptian Museum during an inventory check up of the Museum’ contents. It was reported the two pieces [had been] lost during the chaos on January 28, 2011 [...] One of the pieces is a bed made of clay while the other is a wooden vase. Both pieces are dated back the Pharonic era, said a member of inventory committee, Raafat al-Nabarawy. He said the workers found the pieces in storeroom IV of the Egyptian Museum. Consequently, all storerooms of the Egyptian Museum will be inventoried. El-Nabarawy said the Museum employees did not find the pieces in their glass-case and so thought the pieces were lost. The lost pieces were registered in the list of lost monuments during the initial inventory.
Right, this is wooden model of a vase, Saqqara region, JE 26083 on page 5/42 of the second (horizontal list) "missing from case "P32 Vit. D - pup 2". The "bed" (which might not be a bed) model from El Kab is JE 31720 from P32 - case 54.


I must admit the loss of the wooden vase (known only through a drawing) and the clay model bed did look a bit odd alongside the other items that were actually taken that night. When I was in the museum I could not work out which cases these had been taken from - now I know why; they were not actually taken. What on earth does that museum's documentation look like if they cannot tell what is and what is not on display or in the museum at all? Vignette: Room 32 is here

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