Friday 10 March 2023

Treatment of Human Remains by the Antiquities Trade

Anger in Yemen after ‘2,000-year-old’ mummy found in trash Arab News 09 March 2023
Residents in the Houthi-held city of Sanaa in Yemen have found what is purportedly a 2,000-year-old mummified body in the garbage. The discovery sparked fury among Yemenis, in particular archaeologists who have long fought to protect and conserve historic artifacts during the long-running war in the country. The Sanaa-based General Organization of Antiquities and Museums announced on Wednesday it had acquired a mummy that had been abandoned in trash. It blamed “tomb robbers and antiquities traffickers” for exhuming the corpse, opening its stomach, and then discarding it. “It has been sent to the National Museum in Sanaa for preservation, where specialists from the commission will cure the onset of bacterial decay and undertake research,” the organization said. Ancient Yemenis, it added, were the third people, after Egyptians and Chileans, to perfect embalming techniques, and mummies have been found in the highlands of Sanaa, Mahweet, Dhamar and Shibam. The oldest of the mummies, which are currently housed in the Sanaa University Museum, dates back about 3,200 years. Archaeologists, politicians, journalists and the general public have demanded an end to the looting and smuggling of the country’s antiquities.

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