Friday 11 November 2011

Egyptian Darkness

Back in the middle of August the "World Wide Archaeology Commission", organized their second seminar in collaboration with The Egyptian Museum in Cairo on “Egyptian Museum Monuments (sic) after [the] Revolution: The whole story". Not everyone who took an active interest (and still do) in the fate of the world's archaeological heritage in Egypt and housed in its museums and archaeological storerooms was able to get to this seminar on Zamalek, and we were promised by its organizers (20th August) that a video reportage would be posted on the internet. Repeated checking on the seminar's webpage shows that the organizers still have not kept this promise. The international community is therefore kept in the dark about the version of "the whole story" that was being put out in August. In fact, we are being kept in the dark about a whole lot more (and to blame for at least part of that is the very same Egyptian Museum in Cairo).

Where is the updated list of objects missing from the Cairo Museum?

What progress has been made tracking down the items still missing from that museum, despite the fact that people involved with the robbery and attempted disposal of the items recovered have been in custody since the beginning of this year?

What actually happened in the Museum on that night (28th Jan 2011)?

Where are the full lists of what went missing from the storerooms all over the country in January and February 2011? Without such details, if any turn up on a foreign market, how is the buyer to know?

Where is there an updated list of the elements missing from the various tombs that were opened and damaged in the early months of this year?

We've heard many preliminary stories about the capture of suspected smugglers, but little follow-up information that these people were charged and what with. How many of these stories had a basis in fact, and how many were just "feel-good" reports where no charges were brought (for example the "antiquities" seized among much press hoo-ha were in fact tourist fakes)?

What is going on in Egypt, and what effects is that having on the preservation of the archaeological record and in particular the fight against illicit antiquity trading?

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