Monthly Archives: February 2011

Libya’s Roman sites unscathed by unrest so far


Sun, Feb 27 2011

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

RABAT (Reuters) – Libyans appear determined to safeguard their rich cultural heritage during the popular unrest against leader Muammar Gaddafi, protecting it from the looting seen in neighboring Egypt’s revolution just weeks ago.

Conquered by most of the civilizations that held sway over the Mediterranean, Libya’s rich cultural heritage includes Leptis Magna, a prominent coastal city of the Roman empire, whose ruins are some 130 km (80 miles) east of Tripoli.

To read the rest of the story go to:

UNESCO calls on art dealers and collectors to be on the alert for stolen Egyptian artefacts


Paris, 15 February – UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has called for increased vigilance from national and international authorities, art dealers and collectors following reports of the theft of several important relics from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and other sites throughout the country.

“It is particularly important to verify the origin of cultural property that might be imported, exported and/or offered for sale, especially on the internet,” the Director-General said. “This heritage is part of humanity’s history and Egypt’s identity. It must not be allowed to vanish into unscrupulous hands, or run the risk of being damaged or even destroyed.

“UNESCO will be working closely with its international partners in this field, including INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization (WCO), the International Centre for the Study and restoration of Cultural property (ICCROM) and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) to prevent this from happening.

“But I would also call on security forces, customs agents, art dealers, collectors and local populations everywhere – to do their utmost to recover these invaluable pieces and return them to their rightful home.

“Every possible measure must also be taken to provide the security necessary to protect Egypt’s heritage sites and prevent any further thefts.”

Egyptian authorities reported during the weekend that at several important pieces, including a gilded wood statue of Tutankhamen being carried by a goddess, had been stolen from the museum and that one of its warehouses had been broken into.

The Director-General stressed that illicit traffic is forbidden under UNESCO’s 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the 1995 Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects.

Click here to read the article

Egypt’s museums and monuments are deserted

The Associated Press
Thursday, February 10, 2011; 10:22 AM

CAIRO — One of the world’s great museums resembled a military camp on Thursday, with soldiers patrolling behind its wrought iron gates and armored vehicles parked nearby. Inside, workers with white coats and latex gloves delicately handled artifacts that were damaged in the chaos sweeping Egypt.

The country’s priceless trove of antiquities has emerged mostly unscathed from the unrest so far, but tourism, a pillar of the Egyptian economy, has not. Tens of thousands of foreigners have fled Egypt, many on evacuation flights organized by their governments, draining a key source of employment and foreign currency.

Click here to read the rest of the story

ICOM Preliminary report on museums in Egypt

Thursday, 03 February 2011
Due to circumstances, following data could not be officially confirmed so far

1/ Situation of the Egyptian Museum, also known as Cairo Museum

The century‐old building exhibits over 100,000 artefacts from ancient Egypt. The institution is home to the largest and best collections of ancient Egyptian art in the world.
The museum is located near some of the most intense of the mass protests sweeping the capital. It is overlooking Tahrir Square in Cairo’s city centre and adjacent to the headquarters of the ruling
National Democratic Party that protesters had set ablaze on Friday. Therefore there were big threats by the torched building.

Friday, 28 February 2011

Many people entered the museum’s gift shop, and stole modern jewellery. Later, some people entered the exhibition rooms, broke artefacts and attempted to steal two mummies.
When protesters took notice of the danger, lots of young Egyptians created a human chain surrounding and protecting the museum. This was only partially effective, because the raiders had
entered from above through the ceiling windows. But the chain could prevent the thieves of getting out with their loot; they were forced to leave the mummies behind when they broke into pieces as
they carried the ancient artefacts towards the museum doors. The civilians managed to stop and capture some of them, and deliver them to the army forces.

Through his blog, Dr. Zahi Hawass, also ICOM Egypt President gives a detailed description of the

To read the full report, click here

Museums on high alert for ancient Egyptian loot

By Mohammed Abbas

LONDON | Wed Feb 2, 2011 9:49am EST

LONDON (Reuters) – International museums are on high alert for looted Egyptian artifacts and some archaeologists have even offered to fly to the country to help safeguard its ancient treasures, museums said Wednesday.

Egypt has been rocked by an unprecedented nine days of demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year-rule, and fears are high for the country’s priceless heritage after looters broke into the Egyptian Museum in Cairo last week.

Click here to read the rest of the article

Reputable auction houses try to get all (arti)facts before selling antiquities

By Brian Vastag
The Washington Post
Tuesday, February 1, 2011; 8:10 PM

The first Indiana Jones movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” offers many a scene to make archaeologists wince, but none more so than a quiet moment early on when the intrepid Professor Jones sells plundered artifacts to Marcus Brody, director of the fictional National Museum in Washington.

For the rest of the article click here