News from January-September 2011

4 September 2011--Updates from Egypt

The political situation in Egypt still remains uncertain while everyone awaits the announcement of election dates. August was occupied by Ramadan, and this has tended to slow down developments. Nonetheless a few things can be reported from the antiquities point of view.

A new head of the SCA has been appointed. He is Mohamed Abdel Fattah, who was previously Director of Antiquities for Upper Egypt. Here is the story as reported by Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Zahi Hawass has posted on his web site a note about his postmenstrual life.

A number of foreign missions have had their requests for permission to work in Egypt granted. See Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Things will doubtless speed up in the next few weeks.

 

2 August 2011 (updated 4 September)--a Book Sale

I do not normally mention things of a commercial nature here, but as Gavin Radis is disposing of a load of Egyptology and other things, to enable him to clear his house rapidly and efficiently, I am posting his lists here. Please contact him directly for more information.

1 September 2011--Jac J. Janssen

The following came from Olaf Kaper

Professor Dr. Jac.J. Janssen has passed away peacefully at his desk on 23 August, at the age of 89.

Jac.J. Janssen (Koos in the Netherlands and Jack in London) was Professor of Egyptology at Leiden University from 1979 to 1983, after which he moved to London. He is principally known for his work on the hieratic documentary material from Deir el-Medina, about which he was one of the world's greatest experts and on which he published widely and until recently. Between 1970 and 1982 he was editor of the Annual Egyptological Bibliography.

A memorial service will be held at the Dutch Church, 7 Austin Friars, London on Tuesday 6 September at 12 noon. Please contact his widow, Rosalind Janssen, if you wish to attend this service.

2 August 2011--Egypt update

An unexpected teaching commitment has kept me away from here for a while, for which I apologise. A lot has been happening. The only advantage in irregular posts is that one can attempt an overview.

My last report here was on the increase in demos in Tahrir Square, protesting against the slowness of change. These got bigger and bigger. One of the results from this seems to have been that the Prime Minister felt the need to renew his cabinet, and some of the obvious victims were those who had associations with the Ancien Régime. There were a number of high-profile casualties, and it also became clear that Zahi Hawass was being asked to go, or was being pushed on about 17 July.

A good article on the fall of Zahi appeared in Smithsonian Magazine. It helps to clarify the bafflement some outside Egypt might feel as a result of what has happened. Zahi's web page has no new material since he left, but he has made some comments to the New York Times.

The question was, then, who would be the new minister? It would appear that the favoured person was Abdel Fatah El-Banna, of Cairo University and who apparently is a stone restoration expert. However, in a remarkable twist, the PM cancelled his nomination on the 18th, apparently in response to protests from the ministry's employees. I detect that he was not a popular choice, and of course he is relatively unknown outside Egypt. I gather he had been very vocal in his criticism of Zahi earlier in the year.

So then Zahi was brought back in a caretaker capacity. However, the current state of affairs seems to be that the ministry is to be downgraded to a council controlled by the cabinet, the old SCA in effect.This opinion is expressed by the current SCA head, Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, in an article. I gather that a lot of staff have already transferred from Zamalek to Abbassiya.

Otherwise there have been one or two more hints about damage to storerooms (see Egyptology News); tourism is still low.

30 June 2011--more unrest in Cairo

After three and a half months of peace in Cairo, a number of demonstrations or riots (depending on your perspective) have broken out in the past 48 hours. The media have carried various reports of unrest in Tahrir Square, although there is debate whether it is a protest against the police, or simply a planned disturbance. There is a BBC video, and stories in various news sources.

There is still clearly an element of uncertainty in Egypt while the country waits for the promised elections. One of the protests is about the slow progress of bringing to justice those involved in the violence against civilians in the revolution. One source on this, one of those which started the whole process, is We are all Khaled Said on Facebook.

29 June 2011--New head of SCA

The web site Youm7 is carrying a report that a new head of the SCA has been appointed by Dr Zahi Hawass. I quote:

"CAIRO: Egypt's Minister of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, has Mohammad Abdel-Moneim as Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

"Abdel-Moneim was the Ministry's general supervisor. He was also the chairman of the Central Administration for Lower Egypt and monuments in Sinai monuments. He discovered many excavations along with important archaeological pieces in North Sinai and the East of the Delta."

It is significant that Zahi is maintaining the nominal integrity and independence of the SCA. I presume it is a reflection of his increased duties since his elevation to Minister. We wish Mohamed Abdel-Moneim all the best in his new post.

23 June 2011--Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt

News has come of the passing of France's senior Egyptologist at the age of 97. Mme Noblecourt had a remarkable career (50 years in the Louvre) and continued as a great figure long after her retirement as departmental head. She outlived her successor, the late Jean-Louis de Cenival, and there have been two further heads since then. Her career encompassed so many things I cannot mention them all, but she wrote one of the first popular books on Tutankhamun, was behind the first exhibition of his treasures outside Egypt, and her work in driving forward the salvage of the Nubian temples will be forever remembered.

There are of course numerous news articles, some of which I quote below. I met her in the Louvre in the early 1980s, and remember her being kind to two young students, and very happy to chat and reminisce about Egyptologists of the recent past (I remember her talking about Gardiner, and also about my then current supervisor, the late A.F. Shore).

23 June 2011--Kate Gingell's visit to Egypt

Kate Gingell has kindly sent me a report on how she found Egypt during her recent trip. Click here to read it.

 

21 June 2011--various re Egypt

Sorry for the silence for a while.

Compared to the early months of this year, the last couple of months has been relatively quiet. Zahi Hawass continues as Minister for Antiquities, and he is going all-out on several fronts to re-establish things. He has been out of Egypt giving talks etc in large part to encourage visitors to return, but he has also been opening new sites and new tombs (for example, seven tombs at Saqqara), doing his best to secure some of the sites where there have been problems (such as removing a number of illegal houses and even cemeteries which have appeared), and just pick up on various projects which stalled during the revolution and the period shortly thereafter. On a personal level, a court has apparently declared him innocent of the charges which arose over a contractual dispute at the Egyptian Museum. The best place to look for Zahi's updates is of course his web site.

Some objects are evidently still missing from the Egyptian Museum after the break-in at the beginning of the revolution. I think these include part of one of the Tutankhamun statues and some of the Yuya and Tjuya shabtis.

I may have mentioned that I was due to make a short trip to Egypt on the day the revolution really got going. It was postponed, but I was able to go at the end of May. A number of photographs are on my Facebook page. I met with Dr Zahi and was able not only to visit the Egyptian and Coptic Museums, but also the two new projects in Cairo, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation and the Grand Egyptian Museum. These two are stunningly impressive; the NMEC is mostly built now, and is huge, with conservation labs and storerooms to match. These are not yet operational, but while the GEM itself has yet to be built, its conservation labs are working at full strength, and are stunningly impressive, both in terms of the space and facilities and the number and enthusiasm of their staff.

The Egyptian Museum is of course open, and there is no evidence, other than some rearrangements, of the damage suffered. It is still an amazing place to be. I saw the new gift shop for the first time, and this means that the entrance and exit have now been separated so that everyone has to go through the shop on departure, just like so many other great world museums. I went to the Coptic Museum for the first time I think since the late 1970s, and the reinstallation of 2006 is most impressive, both as regards the objects but also for the building itself, which is beautiful.

There were not a lot of tourists around. It is of course nice for the visitor to see museum and sites relatively free, but it is not good for Egypt, since so much in that country is predicated on big tourism. Egypt felt totally safe, and visitors should return; you would also be expressing support with the local people and their present and future (as well as learning about their past).

The traffic in Cairo was as bad as ever, things seemed pretty much the same, and visually there are no traces of the events in February other than the burned-out NDP HQ next to the Egyptian Museum, a real eyesore and threat to the museum. As for how the people felt, there was a mixture of optimism and concern about what will happen; the word "confused" was used a lot to describe things. Let us all hope for the best, and wish all Egyptians the future that they want.

7 June 2011--Herman De Meulenaere

From a net post by Raymond Betz:

"It is with great sadness that we have received the news of the passing
away on June 5th, 2011, in his 88th year, of Prof. emeritus Herman De Meulenaere, who taught at the University of Gent (Belgium). He was also very well known as Honorary Chief Curator of the Royal Museums of Art and History of Brussels, Director of the Egyptological Association Queen Elisabeth and Honorary Director of the Committee for Belgian Excavations in Egypt.

Apart from a plethora of contributions on Egyptology in many journals, books and reviews, he was for decades the very strong and appreciated pillar of many Egyptological activities in Belgium and in the world. As an example, he was one of the main actors in the diggings of the archaeological site of ELKAB in Upper Egypt, following the traces of M. Jean Capart. He was also responsible, among many other tasks, for the Pharaonic part of the "Chronique d'Égypte", one of the world's leading Egyptology journals."

I had the pleasure to correspond with Dr De Meulenaere over several years about Late Period statues from the Karnak Cachette, and he was incredibly helpful to me. Let us hope that his work on that period can still be published. I also met him at a PhD examination in Lille. He was a great Egyptologist and will be missed.

6 April--more on Zahi's reappointment

Everyone will know by now that Dr Zahi Hawass has been reappointed as Minister of Antiquities; we congratulate him. Zahi has published a video on his web site which explains his thoughts about it all.

 

30 March--Return of Zahi?

I've been occupied with other things this last week, but now Al-Ahram is reporting that after a meeting with the Prime Minister, Zahi Hawass is returning as Minister for Antiquities. I presume this also means that Zahi has received guarantees for more protection of the sites; other articles have been predicting dire consequences if something was not done soon. Zahi's own site has talked about damage done

A completely different and non-antiquities related story. I was very taken by a documentary on New Delhi TV. I think it gives an additional perspective on what happened in January and February in Egypt.

21 March--various from Egypt

Following the publication last week of a list of missing objects, it has been reported that a number of them have been found. Three thieves were located along with 12 of the missing items.

Some objects are also missing from the storeroom in Tell el-Faraoun (Buto), as mentioned before. There is an Al-Ahram article covering these and the Egyptian Museum. A further Al-Ahram article talks about a robbery in a magazine at Luxor yesterday, and that the objects have been recovered.

There is also news of a delegation from UNESCO going to visit Egypt. Apparently also the petition calling for care for the antiquities has now gone to the Prime Minister's office.

The major political event going on in Egypt is Saturday's referendum on matters associated with the constitution. At the moment, the trend seems to be towards approval of the plans. Al-Ahram has a web page which is being updated on information about the outcome. UPDATE: it is being stated that 77.2% of those who voted (about 40% of the electorate) supported the proposals.

19 March--John L. Foster

News has come of the death on 25th January of John L. Foster at the age of 80. Foster taught American Literature at Roosevelt University in Chicago, but will be better-known to Egyptologists for his long interest in ancient Egyptian literature, and the translation of literary texts.

He was an advocate of the "thought couplet" for analysing the structure of Egyptian texts, as opposed to the more prevalent metrical structure advocated by Fecht in the 1960s. He produced many books of translation such as Love Songs of the New Kingdom, Echoes of Egyptian Voices, Hymns, Prayers, and Songs, The Shipwrecked Sailor, and Ancient Egyptian Literature: An Anthology. He was also editor of JARCE for a while.

Obituaries will be found at these two addresses:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/message/13225

http://legacy.pioneerlocal.com/obituaries/pioneerlocal-evanston/obituary.aspx?n=john-foster&pid=148678350

Note that the obituaries indicate a memorial service on 16 April.

16 March--list of missing objects

Tarek el Awady, the Director of the Egyptian Museum, has produced a list of objects missing from the Museum. He is asking for Egyptologists and other colleagues to circulate it in order to help in the repatriation of the missing artifacts.

It includes no fewer than 54 objects, of which five come from the Tutankhamun collection.Ten are shabtis of Yuya and Tjuya, several are small Amarna pieces, and most of the rest are amulets, bronzes and a couple of other statuettes. It is a most "eclectic" selection, and it is not easy to see a consistent theme running through it. Many, but by no means all, had been publicly noted as missing before. To my knowledge, the disappearance of a second statuette of Tutankhamun, JE 60713, had not been specifically mentioned before, but I am willing to be corrected!

15 March--more on SCA succession

Although I tend to steer clear of rumours, about the only news coming out on who might now head the Ministry of Antiquities/SCA is D. Alaa El-Din Abd el-Mohsen Shaheen. He teaches archaeology at Cairo University, and has a web site.

Various stories continue centred around Dr Zahi Hawass. He has apparently been accused by some in the SCA of covering up the theft of antiquities. There is no way of checking this, and most Egyptologists know how common slandering your boss, or former boss, is in Egypt and in the SCA. Dr Zahi replies to criticism in an interview to be found in al-Ahram.

Yesterday Helen Strudwick came across Arabic video of Dr Zahi's press conference in the Cairo Museum in mid-February which is seemingly more extensive than the English coverage.

 

13 March--recent summary

Firstly, sorry for no recent material due to a holiday.

The news coming out of Egypt now mostly concerns what is happening to the antiquities. The most dramatic news is that Dr Zahi Hawass has stepped down as Minister of Antiquities--probably about the same time as the Prime Minister resigned.

Many stories have covered Dr Zahi's departure and the reasons behind it. Readers should start with an interview with him on his web site dated 6 March. In it he puts the principal reason as the fact that he finds it impossible to do his job with the authorities providing less than satisfactory protection for the monuments.. Further reports on his site on 3 March and on 6 March indicate that looting and damage are more widespread than previously admitted. Zahi says in the latter that he will remain in office until a successor is appointed. He also speaks of break-ins and illegal building all over Egypt; he specifically mentions a robbery at the storeroom at Buto. The earlier report also mentions break-ins at Abusir, Saqqara, Tell Basta and Giza; it also indicates damage at Tell Maskhuta, Saqqara, Giza and Aswan, among other places. Islamic antiquities have also been damaged. Other news sites will have more on the individual damages.

Some sites speculate that there may be more to Dr Zahi's impending departure. There may be political dimensions, while others have accused him of malpractice. As for the latter, it should be remembered that anyone who knows Egypt and the SCA is aware that it may be old scores being settled in the new situation. The web-log Egyptology News for 6 March covers a number of these stories. Something which has apparently seen little coverage is an ongoing legal dispute over the new gift shop at the Cairo Museum; this site covers this, without giving much detail of its authors, although it claims to have some primary documents.

There is much speculation and conflicting information about who will replace Dr Zahi, and indeed of the status of the new Ministry of Antiquities. It would appear that it will remain answerable to the cabinet, but perhaps revert to being called the SCA, although not under the Ministry of Culture (al-Ahram). I have heard various names mentioned as possible successors to Zahi, but at the moment this is pure speculation.

A source suggests that some work in the new museums may be halted while things are being reorganised.

Various petitions are being organised to urge the Egyptian government to ensure that antiquities are given proper security. One such is on Facebook. Another is on the site GoPetition.

One very unsavoury event which appears to have occurred is that an American University in Cairo student was kidnapped on about 9 March and is being held for ransom. It sounds as if he managed to escape the next day. Let us hope this is not something which is going to become common.

 

18 February--more antiquities news

While the political situation remains uncertain, most attention is now being turned to the continuing search for missing objects, and whether there have been any other break-ins.

The statuette of Akhenaten, which had been missing from the Cairo Museum, has been recovered from a young man who found it in the grounds of the museum. The offering table is damaged and will have to be restored. Photos are on Dr Zahi's web site. While not everything has been located, the principal missing item seems to be the gilded figure of Tutankhamun carried on the shoulder of a goddess. The fact that all these items seem to have been found within the museum grounds gives hope for the recovery of the other pieces.

The same Zahi article also mentions that more break-ins have been identified at Saqqara and Abusir. I quote "At Saqqara, the tomb of Hetepka was broken into, and the false door may have been stolen along with objects stored in the tomb ... In Abusir, a portion of the false door was stolen from the tomb of Rahotep. In addition, break-ins have been confirmed at a number of storage magazines: these include ones in Saqqara, including one near the pyramid of Teti, and the magazine of Cairo University". The tomb of Hetepka was also robbed many years ago, and pieces from it were among those in the high-profile Tokely-Parry case. There are also reports in his article of attempted robberies at Tell Basta and Lisht.

Dr Zahi also indicates that he intends the monuments to reopen for visitors on 20 February.

Zahi has made several other posts in recent days; these include the restoration of the Tutankhamun panther (story1, story2); his report to the media from inside the museum; and a further set of updates.

With the decline of media coverage on the political events, Zahi has also been the focus of various news stories about how matters have been conducted. He has given a number of interviews about the break-ins in Cairo. There have also been protests outside the SCA headquarters. The following are two stories:

16 February--Peter Kaplony

News has come of the death of Peter Kaplony on 11 February at the age of 78. Kaplony was for many years professor of Egyptology in Zurich. His particular interests were wide, but concentrated particularly on the inscriptions of the Early Dynastic Period and Old Kingdom. He produced the first real treatments of ED texts and of OK cylinder seals. His interpretations were at times unconventional, but his research laid the basis for much more recent work on the same topics. I shall add an obituary when one is found.

 

15 February--latest news

The political situation is very interesting now, with the parliament dissolved and the constitution suspended. The news of a referendum in the next couple of months is welcome, although there are clearly concerns about the future. It is intriguing that some of the protests are now turning to wage demands, strikes and so on (including the police!), which the army is quite keen to stop. A few days back I mentioned that Dr Zahi encountered SCA people protesting about pay etc. There is a good BBC report on the current situation.

The Gulf Times reports interviews with Zahi and Tarek el-Awady. It seems some objects have been recovered in the grounds of the Cairo Museum. Also, the theft from Dahshur seems to have concerned amulets. That storeroom has now been secured.

14 February--latest

I can't update the site over the weekend, so I'm a bit behind on momentous events. Everyone knows that Hosni Mubarak resigned on Friday, and that there has been a huge party through to Saturday. Now the army is running the country. We don't get into politics here, but I am sure everyone wishes Egypt and the Egyptians the best and expresses the wish that they get the government and system they want. The optimism and pride they expressed over the weekend--to me shown most clearly by the manner in which they cleaned up and redecorated Tahrir Square--is a real expression of hope for the future.

But now to archaeology. The army has indicated that the last cabinet will continue for the present, which means Dr Zahi Hawass is still Minister for Antiquities. A number of good and bad clarifications about the antiquities has come out over the weekend, many from Zahi.

It appears, in addition to the damage to objects in the Cairo Museum, a number of objects were stolen, including parts of the Tutankhamun statues which were damaged, an Amarna statuette, and shabtis of Yuya. See Dr Zahi's web site for more information. Some images are also on the Eloquent Peasant web-log. This story has received a certain amount of coverage in the media, including some discussions about what really happened, why were things unguarded and so on. Some stories:

Zahi's web site also reported that the De Morgan magazine had been broken into in Dahshur. See further articles at Talking Pyramids. Let us hope that this does not mean that there is going to be further phases of looting.

At least some journalists have visited the tomb of Maya and confirmed it is OK.

 

9 February--latest updates

Fortunately no more dramatic news on the antiquities, although the political situation remains very tense. It was interesting when a BBC correspondent went out to a village somewhere near Saqqara as part of a report on how tourism was functioning, and found the locals quite hostile--they may have been believing the stories that foreign correspondents are Israeli spies.

There is another post from Dr Zahi--in it he says among other things that there has been no damage to the tomb of Maya at Saqqara. An interview with Tarek el-Awady, Director of the Cairo Museum, has also been posted.

A colleague of mine from Down Under, Melanie Pitkin, was in Cairo when the trouble started. She has posted an account of her experiences with photos which is well worth a read.

7 February--Dr Zahi latest

Dr Zahi Hawass has placed on his web site on the 6th more information and some photos about the state of the Cairo museum. He has been around the museum now with journalists so we can expect to see further articles describing the situation. He also says that there was wrong information in Dr Wafaa's article mentioned a few days ago about the damage in Egypt.

On the 7th, a further article was added about the restoration of the museum objects.

6 February--Updates from Egypt

The political situation is still uncertain. Dr Zahi Hawass was interviewed on the BBC this morning. The interview is mostly about the political situation and not much about the antiquities. Zahi has however posted another update about the monuments.

A number of intriguing stories about damage to monuments and sites are surfacing.

Ever since photos of the mummies damaged in the Cairo Museum appeared, uncertainty has reigned as to their identity. I and others were sure they are not those of Yuya and Tjuya, incidentally two of the best preserved New Kingdom mummies. An article in Discovery News summarises things. Zahi's update above says they were unidentified Late Period heads stored in the area of the CT scanner for test purposes, which does make good sense. I know some colleagues from the US were on their way to Cairo to scan mummies at the time.

A 'Letter from Cairo' in Archaeologyreviews some information on sites. Zahi's article indicates that the stories about damage to the tomb of Maia are false.

4 February--updates from Egypt

Some more stories have come out of possible damage or looting at Saqqara. My eye was drawn to ScienceInsider, which is suggesting that the tomb of Maya may have been damaged. The article also reports on a number of other sites.

A number of photographs on Dr Zahi's web site show the Cairo Museum and the area around it: http://www.drhawass.com/photoblog/egyptian-museum The photos at 172 and 173 show the protection now afforded to Zahi. There is various media speculation about his role in the government now (see Egyptology News).

3 February--Further updates (twice updated)

While the political situation in Egypt remains very uncertain, at least the information coming out about the state of antiquities is encouraging.

Zahi Hawass has published a further update. His summary is that while some locks were broken in Saqqara, the only places to have suffered damage are the Cairo Museum and the Qantara storeroom--restoration will begin soon on the museum objects and at least some of the material taken from the storeroom has been recovered. Zahi has also sent out an email to colleagues thanking them for their support and good wishes.

The ugly clashes in Tahrir Square have seen some rocks and petrol bombs end up in the museum garden, but no damage has been done to the museum itself.

Most foreign expeditions appear to be closing down their work; some are doing it voluntarily, some at the request of the authorities (presumably due to security concerns). There is some unconfirmed evidence that permits may be suspended during the current problems, but it is presently unclear whether this year's "season" is at an end.

Various organisations are publishing statements on the damage to antiquities:

Don't forget to consult the BBC web site for regular updates on the political situation. The Guardian also has a very current page. Egyptology News also updates regularly on matters concerned with the situation for archaeologists/museums/monuments.

There are reports (afternoon) that journalists are being harassed by the security forces, and also that mobile phone companies are being forced to send out pro-government text messages.

1 February--updates on antiquities damage

Zahi Hawass has posted a positive update on things on his web site.

A photograph has been located on the AP web site which seems to show two damaged mummies in the Cairo Museum. They do not appear to be those of Yuya and Tjuya:

AP image only (opens in an overlay) | whole page in AP (separate window)

A site ("Egyptological Looting Database 2011") is collating information on site damage. It seems to have no privileged access to information, but I note it as a possible source.

Some updates on Giza and Karnak via the Director of ARCE.

31 January--Zahi Hawass in new Egyptian cabinet

My thanks to Thierry Bendritter for pointing out to me that in the new Egyptian cabinet, Dr Zahi Hawass has become Minister for Antiquities, and Farouk Hosni, Culture minister and longest-serving member of the government, has been replaced by Gaber Asfour:

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/930719--egyptian-president-announces-new-cabinet-canadians-fly-out?bn=1

More detail on the cabinet is yet to appear.

30 January--Crisis in Egypt (updated 31 Jan)

Every reader of this site will be aware of what is going on in Egypt now. Truly we live in interesting times. Here it would not be right to comment on the politics of it all, but we are concerned for all Egyptians and hope that the situation is resolved without more loss of life and trauma.

We were due to fly out to Cairo on the 28th, but our flight was one of the first to be cancelled because of the curfew. I will concentrate on news about the collections and monuments.

General coverage

The BBC and al-Jazeera TV stations and web sites are providing a lot of coverage. The Egyptology News page is also being regularly updated on archaeological matters. I shall update this as and when significant updates become available.

Cairo Museum

It is desperately sad to relate that a number of cases, 13 or 17, have been vandalised in the Egyptian Museum on Friday night. These include:

  • The mummies of Yuya and Tjuya
  • Some statuettes of Tutankhamun and other Tut items
  • The Nubian soldiers from Asyut
  • A Middle Kingdom boat

The museum is being protected by both the army and many of the demonstrators.It seems to me as if these objects were chosen as being well-known and not just "any old" cases. There is an interesting interview in German (which can be translated with software) with the museum's former director, Wafaa es-Siddiq, who describes how it happened; apparently the perpetrators are from the museum security staff. There is also a web-log which has dedicated a page to collecting and identifying images of and information about the affected artifacts: The Eloquent Peasant; another collection of links and images is (in Spanish) at Terrae Antiquae. There are also there videos of the damage and interviews with Zahi Hawass. Versions without commentary of some of these videos may be found on AP. Zahi has also added a page on his web site about what is happening, both in Cairo and outside.

Outside Cairo

The interview with Wafaa es-Siddiq suggests that storerooms and the museum in Memphis have been looted. There are reports of magazines at Saqqara and Abusir being robbed. (See also the Zahi Hawass web site). A storeroom at the Qantara museum has been robbed, and there are other rumours of site damage.

It would seem that sites are generally being closed as part of providing additional protection.

Further south, there are rumours that there has been damage in Luxor, but enquires suggest that the antiquities there are OK. I telephoned a friend on the West Bank who assured me that the monuments are not damaged.

Foreign missions appear to be closing down for the present and moving to locations which might be more secure, or are returning home (this article mentions the German Archaeological Institute).

19 January--Tutankhamun's tomb to be closed? [UPDATED 23/1/11]

Stories are appearing in the media indicating that it is likely that the tomb of king Tut will be closed long-term as it is suffering damage from so many visitors. There is a plan to build a replica of it for tourists to visit

http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2011/jan/17/tutankhamun-tomb-to-close

[Why, one wonders, did the Guardian have to ask a non-specialist to write this when there are so many Egyptologists in the UK!?]

UPDATE 23/1/11: it would appear from the following article that although the above is planned, it will be a little while before it is implemented:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41181247/ns/technology_and_science-science/

19 January 2011--Site makeover

Egyptology Resources now has a new look.The site was looking rather tired and had not changed since 2003 (see History). Readers are encouraged to let me have their comments, broken links, and so on.

Hope you all had an excellent Christmas, and and best wishes for 2011.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, © Nigel Strudwick 1994-2012