Armed Attack on Antiquities Storehouse in Egypt

After the resignation of Zahi Hawass, there are reports of looting and theft including one disturbing report from Kafr el-Sheikh on Saturday:

Forty armed men attacked an antiquities warehouse in the northern Egyptian city of Kafr el-Sheikh on Saturday, shooting at warehouse security men and injuring several, state news agency MENA said. The attack is the second attempt to rob Kafr el-Sheikh’s Tal al-Faraeen (Hill of the Pharaohs) antiquities warehouse since Jan. 25, the first day of the nationwide protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11.

The warehouse doors were destroyed as were display cases, MENA cited the Head of the Central Department of Lower Egyptian Antiquities Mohamed Abdel Maksoud as saying. Some of the attackers had been caught, while others had escaped, he said.

In a statement on his blog yesterday, Hawass confirmed these reports.

So what concrete steps can be taken now? Chris Marinello and the Art Loss Register have pledged their support, but their efforts require the authorities in Egypt to notify them of the specific objects which have been taken. Larry Rothfield argues that while public statements are a necessary step, they have no real effect. He argues institutions should call on their members to help identify and reclaim missing objects, and to pool resources to hire locals and security personnel to protect storehouses and sites. He also suggest financial and logistical support could be provided by the United States to help Egyptians secure and guard their sites.

  1. Forty armed men attack Egypt antiquities store-MENA, Reuters, March 5, 2011, http://af.reuters.com/article/egyptNews/idAFLDE7240E820110305 (last visited Mar 7, 2011).
Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com

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