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Egypt and riots: news from the archaeology teams

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posted on Jan, 30 2011 @ 07:30 PM
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There are thousands of students and archaeologists from around the world who are caught in the middle of the crisis in Egypt. The blog, Egyptology News, is trying to present the information as it trickles in, brought out around government internet blocks and so forth.

Here's the blog:
egyptology.blogspot.com...

Note the feed on the right -- apparently access to the pyramids has been closed off (probably fearing what will happen if things turn violent in that area.)

Jane Akshar has been blogging from Luxor. There are phone interviews with her (to update the blog) -- earlier she paused to reflect the impact that the murder of a group of tourists had on Luxor. The economic cost of the riots will be quite high no matter what the outcome.

Jane's blog:
www.luxor-news.blogspot.com...

Hawass is quite upset (understandably) -- apparently nearly a thousand people stormed the museum... and looted the gift shop (which is, as everyone acknowledges, a trivial loss.) Only nine or ten got into the museum where they did some damage to beautiful little artifacts: www.drhawass.com...




posted on Jan, 30 2011 @ 07:34 PM
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Thx Byrd,
been keeping a eye on this myself, I understand a mummy was also destroyed.
When fighting for ones freedom, people always seem to wanna make a dime out of it also by looting.
Human nature I suppose.

The museum is such a treasure trove, I worry for the artefacts as well as the Egyptian people 'democratic' plight.
I have some friends working there currently, worrying about them is giving me a ulcer I think
edit on 30-1-2011 by zazzafrazz because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 08:17 PM
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More news from the archaeological community:

The general consensus seems to be (from outsiders, not information from museum insiders) that the mummies which were damaged were Tuya and Yuya, Tut's grandparents. The little wooden boat that was so heavily damaged was over 4,000 years old:
news.discovery.com...

As of yesterday, many tombs and monuments outside Cairo were being protected (if at all) only by local villagers:
news.discovery.com...

As the situation (dropping food supplies) gets worse, the chance that people will react with short term thinking ("my family is hungry. I think I can sell this relic.") is greater and the chance they'll think long term ("These treasures are what brings visitors here and that brings money into my village -- money that will be gone if these things are damaged or destroyed.") is endangered. Right now, the long term thinking seems to be winning.

Reports on how much damage is done are mixed... Fox says one archaeologist's email claims there's large gangs of people digging and looting and that Hawass says this isn't happening:
www.foxnews.com...

This article has a picture of the beautiful statue of Tut riding (standing) on a panther -- the statue was one item heavily damaged:
cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com...

And the government has (as is reported elsewhere) shut down the Internet in Egypt. Getting updates will be difficult and I suspect that it'll be awhile before the full extent of the problem is known:
abcnews.go.com...

However, this isn't an issue they can sweep under the carpet. There are hundreds of digs there from all over the world, and a lot of people with a LOT of photos, and you can bet that every one of the Egyptologists around the world will be pouring over them to determine what's still intact and what's been damaged.



posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 09:16 PM
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More information (we're seeing blame swapping now):

The former director of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo says that the looting was an "inside job" by guards (note: I find this a bit odd, since if you're a guard at a museum you know EXACTLY what is important and what is valuable... on the other hand, maybe that's why they went after the gift shop.)

He reports that the Memphis museum was completely looted:
hyperallergic.com...



posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 09:21 PM
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shocking...though the army will shoot someone caught doing this.

did you hear that Zahi hawass is now the minister of antiquity...!



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 12:30 PM
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Originally posted by thePharaoh
shocking...though the army will shoot someone caught doing this.


That's what some sources SAY. However, others say that protecting museums isn't one of the military's priorities.


did you hear that Zahi hawass is now the minister of antiquity...!

Actually, he's been acting as the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities since 2002. The previous Minister (Farouk Hosny/Hosni) actually held the title of "Minister of Culture" and thus Hawass' "boss" in a sense. He's quite an interesting man: en.wikipedia.org... -- but the thing that bothers me is that I don't see a lot of news reports (at this time) showing him doing a lot of things as an active Cabinet Member.

...or any other time.

Was he just standing around, looking important and opening a few art galleries? He spoke out against women wearing the hajib (head scarf), which was nice of him, but then faded back into the woodwork. Hawass has been the one who is trying to get back ancient Egyptian artifacts from other countries. It looks like Farouk Hosny sort of gave his title and approval to Hawass' efforts, but I don't see him standing up for Egypt and the return of items from its culture.

At least Hawass (for all his annoying traits) took an active role in trying to preserve Egyptian culture.

Looking at news stories for Farouk Hosny, it appears that he was appointed to the position because his family and the family of President Hosni Mubarak had some very close ties. This has been one of the big problems with Egypt -- Mubarak appointed personal friends to Cabinet level positions.

Many of the new folks in the "Cabinet shuffle" have military or police ties -- unfortunate, since one of the big things the Egyptians are complaining about is the level of corruption in the country's police force.



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 12:49 PM
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The Muslim Brotherhood, now in control of Egypt, cares little for the wealth of the unbelievers.

Expect the destruction on non-Islamic icons to continue. Jihad cannot progress if the victims can remember their past.



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 01:07 PM
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reply to post by mike_trivisonno
 


This is so wrong and ignorant..But I know, for some Western people, any event happening in ME must be identified with barbarism or vandalism. First of all, this movement in Egypt has nothing to do with Jihad.



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 04:01 PM
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University of Memphis students in the area of the riots They're feeling pretty unsure of everything. One student said the police force just gave up because they couldn't control the situation.

Abydos dig teams have told by their universities to leave the country. Students are frustrated and upset.

UNESCO (in charge of the world heritage sites (like Giza)) deplores the violence, asks for respect for heritage -- and also supports the rights of the people. Egypt is one of the founding members of UNESCO

Meanwhile, some good news... according to Hawass, some of the items that were looted from one site have been returned (whew!)

From a third hand report: "A Sakkara inspector told him that in the last few days Sakkara has been ransacked. Maia is destroyed and even the reliefs in the burial chamber have been hacked out. There is mass digging around the Unas area in particular. The inspector could not get as far as the Teti area as he was threatened ...with guns but the mastabas will have suffered the same fate." Sakkara (Saqqara) was an important burial site for the pharaohs... "Maia" here is the nurse (wet nurse) of Tutankhamen, and her tomb was elaborately carved ad decorated: en.wikipedia.org...

The Sun (a paper known for its impassioned journalism ... sometimes overly enthusiastic impassioned jouranlism with less fact checking than you'd like) reports on villagers running off with relics shouting, "I'm rich! I'm rich!" (no t entirely sure of the full accuracy of this report)

Story source for this comes from the Facebook Group Egyptologists for Egypt -- they support the people's demands to end the abuses of the current regime and are attempting to preserve the artifacts. This includes Egyptians and non-Egyptians.

...believe me, there are a lot of Egyptians who are upset over these actions.



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 04:20 PM
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My thoughts towards destruction of anything, that has to do with history or archeaology, are simple.

This seems the be the way a lot of information gets destroyed over the years.
Riots, Wars, Looting, etc....'Protesting'...

Humans just destroy, destroy, destroy...as if that solves anything at all.
Seems like the only things left to find and hold on to are the things that violent people haven't found yet. If it's buried still hidden, or otherwise, it would be disturbed. But as long as something with value is on display, it manages to get ruined. One way or another.

The things we discover now, or put value on, are like a giant bulls eye.
Not likely that any looters knew what they were destroying or they would be thieves.

I imagine that alot of things have been destroyed from people acting out over the millenia.
Or just from people stealing for their own personal benefit.

Either way, it will probably be the one things that never ceases in our existance.

Destruction.





posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 09:00 PM
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Originally posted by Byrd

Originally posted by thePharaoh
shocking...though the army will shoot someone caught doing this.


That's what some sources SAY. However, others say that protecting museums isn't one of the military's priorities.


i have first hand information from my large family in suez and cairo that the PEOPLE and ARMY are protecting egyptian assets (except for NDP buildings)...to add - the looters and trouble makers are Egypts own security forces and the prisoners they let out.

they HOPED that by smashing the museum that the army would HAVE to clamp down...but the people are not stupid.

Egyptians themselves will take care of these antiquities....you have to worry about foreign theives...so CUSTOMS CONTROL KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN
edit on 2-2-2011 by thePharaoh because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 10:39 PM
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Hawass has made another statement about the state of things today -- but it's the general consensus (yes, among Egyptologists) that he sounds rather pompous and that it seems to read like a piece of artful propaganda:
www.drhawass.com...

One Egyptian that I know slightly says he's not particularly well liked even by his own people.

The new "Library of Alexandria" is reportedly being protected by "young people" (I'm guessing students)
www.guardian.co.uk...

Aswan museums are reported safe, no word on the tombs but dig crews are remaining in the area. I would guess that this means the situation isn't as dangerous as in Alexandria.

The news from Saqqara (from a few days ago) isn't pretty -- more reports of damage and looting and the Dutch teams' excavations being destroyed:

Giza is said to be safe and undamaged.
artofcounting.com...



posted on Feb, 5 2011 @ 01:43 AM
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Dr. Zahi Hawass is a mubarak supporter and could care less about his people. He spoke on egyptian State tv, and he likes hes new position as ministry of antiqueties. if revolution does happen i hope they kick him out of the country.



posted on Feb, 6 2011 @ 11:07 PM
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The latest from Hawass is not being greeted with cheers of relief and support (and... to be blunt, I don't like the title of his blog post.)
www.drhawass.com...

He states that some of the previous reports about the damage are wrong and that he's going to see that the correct facts are printed and intends to contact the National Geographic about their claim that the boat which was damaged was over 4,000 years old.

The damaged mummies are apparently NOT Tut's grandparents (Yuya and Tjuya,) as previously reported. But there are still a lot of questions about who they were and whose bones were scattered on the floor. I don't think any Egyptologist will be truly satisfied until a group of independent scholars wanders in and has a good look around:
news.discovery.com...

They're quite annoyed about the scarcity of good photographs:
egyptopaedia.com...

He may be telling the truth... or he may be hiding the extent of the damage. Meanwhile, it's generally agreed in the archaeological community that the Eloquent Peasant site (run by an Egyptologist) probably has the best list of what's been damaged:
www.eloquentpeasant.com...



posted on Feb, 13 2011 @ 10:41 AM
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And at this late date, Hawass is doing an "oops, there WERE things stolen from the museum." Thankfully it wasn't one of his "the Sphynx is sad" blogs -- it's short and to the point.

I can see that yes, with the chaos in Egypt, there'd be a problem getting the inventory correct. Since I volunteer at a museum, I know that if there was a riot and demonstrations going on outside the building, we would be scurrying to protect things and moving them to storerooms and moving things offsite if we could (in case someone decided to torch the building) -- so I can understand the confusion.

Some lovely and not-very-frequently photographed items went missing. Not a lot of them, according to the blog. We'll see what turns up as confirmed in the next few days as archaeologists from across the world get back to their sites and start putting out reports.
www.drhawass.com...



posted on Feb, 13 2011 @ 11:28 AM
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EloquentPeasant blog has more current color pictures of the missing objects than are shown by Hawass' press release. The "Tut spearing fish" piece is damaged and may have already been dismantled. I hope the little ushabtis are still in one piece (I particularly like ushabtis, and own (legally) one.)
Photos of some of the missing items

BTW, Giza reopened for tourists a few days ago but few are visiting
Giza, tourists, and restoration
edit on 13-2-2011 by Byrd because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 13 2011 @ 11:42 AM
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Thanks for posting and keeping the thread updated, Byrd. This is a really interesting situation that is shedding a bit of light on the state of Egyptology and the public opinion of archaeological research in Egypt. I'm pleased to hear that some locals are protecting the relics and ruins nearby - that's pretty encouraging. I was half-expecting everything to be burned and blown up in the excitement of overthrowing a government.

I wonder if Mr Hawass is going to maintain his position, officially or just as an unofficial adviser. Hope somebody with more of a sense of wonder and awe and mystery of ancient Egyptian culture takes his place - he seems to have a more conservative, Americanized view of ancient Egypt.



posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 05:08 PM
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Originally posted by tetsuo
I wonder if Mr Hawass is going to maintain his position, officially or just as an unofficial adviser.


A very interesting question. Today there's a report of archaeologists protesting outside his office:
Protests at Hawass' office

Most telling is that they see him as a part of the Mubarik government and cite a lot of issues such as "with all the money from tourists coming in, howcome archaeologists aren't paid better?"


Hope somebody with more of a sense of wonder and awe and mystery of ancient Egyptian culture takes his place - he seems to have a more conservative, Americanized view of ancient Egypt.


Actually, he's very passionate and informed about it, and his view isn't "Americanized" or "anything-ized." People keep forgetting that he got into Egyptology through his interest in Edgar Cayce's prophecies -- so if anything his mindset would have been a more mystical bent than is normally acceptable in hard science. This shows up in his searches for "what's behind the shaft in the pyramid" and his focus on Giza.

And his pompous and patronizing attitude, I'm afraid, is very similar to Mubarik. We'll see how long he lasts once the situation clears up. I think unless there's proof of massive fraud on his part and massive theft, he may well remain until he retires.

Some of the missing artifacts have turned up: report of finding missing artifacts



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 08:29 PM
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Another artifact shows up -- a teenage boy finds one of the statues (with apparently some damage) beside a trash bin.
www.myfoxny.com...



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 09:41 AM
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Although any destruction or tampering is absolutely abhorrent, I admit I gave a mental sigh of relief when I read that the damaged mummies were not of Yuya and Tuya - that whole time period and lineage is one of the most fascinating in all of Egypts history.



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