Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Awful Artifacts Reappear

The fine folks at Egypt's Cairo museum are a little more relieved today from finding two objects believed stolen during the break in at the end of January. The drawing of the Heset vase really does sum up a broken antiquities department including mismanagement of the national museums ledgers, they could have at least whipped out a box of crayons and coloured it.

Who in the world would break into the Cairo museum and of all it's treasures steal that awful clay bed when the robber could have made more money by stealing one of the museums garbage cans? Now that the Heset vase has been located I imagine it might be a good time to take a proper picture of it, in colour and not blurry.

Certainly the real price paid for the loss of these pieces was the exposure of the museums ledgers to the public eye and particularly the vulnerability of the museums security with the display that Dr. Zahi Hawass was unable to guarantee security for Neues Nefertiti should she have been present, thankfully she stayed in Berlin and missed the robbery of Cairo's Amarna collection.

In all fairness the museum is 109 years old and though it has pulled in untold millions the museum does not appear to be benefited by it. I am not surprised that these two objects have turned up in the museum and based on their appreciative value would suspect that they might have been better off lost!

Vincent at Talking Pyramids has pictures of items recovered.


Stuart Tyler said...

Tim - reading this and the very many articles posted about the Cairo Museum has really highlighted the deep running issues regarding housing and securing of artifacts in Egypt's flagship museum.

I have concerns about about the new museum being built also. Too early to say for sure, but will the museum staff record fully the artifacts they have? Will they finally produce an online catalogue? Should they be taking advice on security matters from other leading museums outside Egypt that house AE objects?

Lets hope that the new museum will be more secure and its collections more accessible to researchers outside Egypt.


tim said...

Hi Stuart

An online catalogue is long overdue however from the people who wanted to copyright the pyramids it might be too much FREE exposure for the liking of those at the antiquities service.

Sad the worlds reference collection may well be handicapped by paranoia?

On the plus side the moving of the national collection to new facilities is a perfect time to re-due the museums ledgers and hopefully some of the missing artifacts might turn up like the mummies of Ramses I or Pinudgem I?