Egypt's cultural artifacts are casualties of political unrest

01 Mar 2011 8:09 AM | Anonymous

Egypt's cultural artifacts are casualties of political unrest
While Nefertiti sits with her head held high on Berlin's Museum Island, archaeologists are besieged with worry over the cultural riches in her home country. Graves have been plundered; artifacts were found smashed in the corners of a famous museum; and protestors have demanded the resignation of Egypt's antiquities minister, Zahi Hawass, known for his aggressive pursuit of Egyptian artifacts being kept abroad.

Hawass has also been under scrutiny abroad for his inconsistent reports about a break-in at the Egyptian Museum in late January. While he initially announced that 70 objects had been broken by looters, he later revealed that 18 or, according to some accounts, 19 artifacts were missing, including highly valuable objects such as a gilded wooden statue of Tutankhamen and a limestone statue of the god Akhenaton, which Hawass later reported was found in a trash bin. Tutankhamen has yet to surface.

Extent of the loss is unknown

The Egyptian Museum reopened earlier this month, but challenges lie ahead as experts investigate the extent of vandalism throughout the country. Gabriele Pieke, Egyptologist and general secretary of the International Committee of Egyptian Museums, says that in addition to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, smaller museums, tombs and archaeological sites have been robbed of significant artifacts.,,14874738,00.html

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