Egypt Independent

Tampering with Egypt’s antiquities



The Permanent Committee of Antiquities issued a strange decision that needs to be reviewed by all those interested in Egyptian archaeological affairs.
 
I cannot believe that the committee, whose task is to protect Egyptian archaeological heritage, allows foreign missions to excavate in Upper Egypt. This area is rich with archeological sites, as opposed to the Delta, where excavation is difficult, costs more and requires special skills due to the urban sprawl. 
 
And so, those missions prefer to excavate in Upper Egypt for the credit and glory, should they discover something, which is quite possible, given the richness of place.
 
And when they leave, we here bear the responsibility of restoring and securing the discoveries, whereas our capabilities are limited in that area.
 
It is better that those antiquities remain preserved in the soul of the desert for the future generations, which will have a more advanced technology than we have today, to maintain them.
 
That is why the committee had, in 2002, banned excavation permits for new foreign missions to work in the area from Giza to Aswan, limiting work there to restoration and maintenance, while encouraging foreign mission excavations in the Delta.
 
Scientists and researchers interested in Egyptian archaeological affairs praised that decision, which was stipulated for a period of 10 years to be automatically renewed. In 2012, the decision was not overturned.
 
So why was it suspended in 2015? Is it plausible to grant the Berlin Museum, which unlawfully keeps the Nefertiti bust, a permit to excavate in Aswan? Have we not been relentlessly demanding the return of the bust? 
 
What the committee did needs to be investigated thoroughly if we have self-respect and if we want the rest of the world to respect us.
 
 
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm