Monday, February 14, 2011

The Rosetta Stone in the Cairo Museum

As the officials at the Cairo museum pick Yuya's heart scarab off the ground outside the museum the time to reflect on what has happened to the museum and to it's exhibits is here. Questionable press releases have come from Dr. Zahi Hawass' office in and under horrible circumstances and no one can envy Dr. Hawass' position now.

The center of the robbery appears to be  based on the Amarna collection with casual damage to Vitrines without any sense of the objects inside, merely vandalism including a four thousand year old boat which was damaged for no reason.

It is not unreasonable to fear that much of the vandalism in the museum might have been created in order to smoke screen a planned robbery of the Amarna collection. Objects which have no value on the open market but may well possess great value for organized crime?

The painting by Vincent Van Gogh stolen this past year from the Mouhmud Khalil museum put on display to the world that the museum was inadequitly protected and that this may be true of the rest of Egypt's museums and now Cairo.

At first we were told that a thousand people had stormed the museum next we were told that no it was probably 1, 4 or 9 amateurs including one who became injured during the break in. Certainly very early on in the immediate days after the 29th of January when Dr. Hawass was reporting that one case had been opened  he had to have known that the statue of Akhenaten was not where it was supposed to be and that objects were missing but instead of releasing this information to the public where it may have helped in their immediate recovery Dr. Hawass chose to wait two weeks for an assessment of damages.

Even with the turmoil outside the museum and the great size of the museum it could not have taken two weeks for the staff to search the museum including the rooms which were locked and not visited by the thieves! Slowly the damages come out and the pressure rises on Dr. Hawass to prove that Egypt's museums are safe enough for Berlin's bust of Nefertiti or the Rosetta stone to visit?

The slow release of information is only dragging out the damages and making the situation worse calling into question whether it is in fact time for Dr. Hawass to retire or be removed!

Dr. Hawass what of the royal mummies and how is Ramesses II?

No comments: