Archaeology and Cultural Heritage in Egypt after Mubarak

Posted in: Ancient Near East Today, Antiquities Market, Archaeology and Politics, Conservation, Cultural Heritage and Property
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ANET1_WILLIAMSFig1By: Greg Williams

Egypt’s January 25th revolution was originally seen as part of the larger “Arab Spring” across the Middle East where old political regimes were overthrown by popular protests and replaced by representative democracies. But on January 28th 2011, as chaos reigned in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, reports began circulating around the globe claiming that antiquities on display in the Egyptian Museum had been stolen. Zahi Hawass, the famous face of Egyptian archaeology, Mubarak regime insider, and then head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), was immediately embroiled in the situation. Many outside of Egypt believed that the political volatility and economic crisis engulfing the capital and the rest of the country had claimed some of the most precious artifacts of Egypt’s over 5,000 year history which would be lost forever. Egyptians of all social classes converged on the museum to protect it, sparking hopes that a new era in the relationship between Egyptians and their past had begun.  (more…)

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1 Comments for : Archaeology and Cultural Heritage in Egypt after Mubarak
    • Simon
    • April 9, 2013

    Saying "Close to a quarter of Egypt’s population lives in Cairo. If the monuments within the city cannot be protected, nothing will be" is the wrong way to frame the problem. It is precisely because close to a quarter of the population lives in Cairo, and wants to keep living in Cairo, and has ever-growing families, and there is no mechanism for enforcing the law, that the problem is so bad.

    The illegal construction in Darb al-Ahmar, the site of the Aga Khan Trust's greatest investment in sustainable living, is among the worst in Cairo. If people have to choose between trying to improve their lives and preserving monuments, their choice will be obvious – whether in Egypt, Italy, France, or the USA.

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