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Friday, December 04, 2009

BBC NEWS | Middle East | The quest to regain Egypt's antiquities

BBC NEWS | Middle East | The quest to regain Egypt's antiquities
"I'm not asking for all the artefacts of the British Museum to come to Egypt," says Zahi Hawass, the secretary general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.

"I'm only asking for the unique cultural objects," he added, referring to items of great archaeological value, such as the Rosetta Stone....

Also on his wish list is the 3,500-year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti, wife of the famous Pharaoh Akhenaten, on show at the newly re-opened Neues Museum in Berlin, Germany.

Other items include a statue of Hemiunu, the architect of the Great Pyramid at Giza - also in Germany; the bust of Anchhaf, builder of the Chepren Pyramid - at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; and a painted Zodiac from the Dendera temple, which is kept at the Louvre."

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Rosetta Stone and Similar Artefacts : Findings - A Case in Antiquities for 'Finders Keepers' - NYTimes.com

At its Global Edition Science in the New York Times, John Tierney in his November 16, 2009 article focuses on Findings - A Case in Antiquities for 'Finders Keepers', writing:

"Zahi Hawass regards the Rosetta Stone, like so much else, as stolen property languishing in exile. "We own that stone," he told Al Jazeera, speaking as the secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities."

Tierney's article is an excellent analysis of the whys and why-nots of returning artefacts to the country of their origin.

Although we are very much in favor of the return of many artefacts to the country of their origin, Egypt in return must become much more liberal in the permissions that it grants for archaeological excavations in Egypt by mainstream institutions and there must be much more objective DNA analysis of mummies etc. It can not be that important archaeological finds are not properly analyzed by objective and unbiased scientific studies, as has not been the case recently in some studies of Egyptian artefacts conducted only be Egyptian scholars. Moreover, it can not be that permission is not given to make things such as DNA analysis to resolve important questions about the origins of the Pharaohs.

Whoever claims that the spoils of Pharaonic Egypt belong to him, will have to prove who the originators of Pharaonic culture actually were, and, as we have long alleged, these are the Hebrews. The current leadership and inhabitants of Egypt entered the country much more recently and actually have nothing to do with the Pharaohs.

IN addition, had the Rosetta Stone not been taken to Great Britain, the decipherment of the hieroglyphs would not have happened as it did, and the face of Egyptology - if it existed at all today - would be much different.

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