Archive – Feb 2011

What’s happening now in Egypt – Feb 2011 archive

The current ‘What’s Happening Now In Egypt’ page aims to keep you updated on the latest travel information to Egypt; as well as news on the ancient sights, missing artefacts and the continued preservation of our Egyptian heritage, following the peaceful peoples’ of January Revolution. This is our archive from February 2011.

February 2011 – Travel Updates, News on Egyptian Antiquities and Heritage Sights

Danish Foriegn Ministry Lifts all Travel Restrictions to Egypt – 28/02/11
The Danish Foreign Ministry has announced that they no longer advice against travelling to any areas of Egypt. This follows in the wake of The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Dutch, Italian and Belgian Ministries also lifting all travel restrictions to Egypt last week.

‘Egypt Moving Forward’ Luxor Event Was A Great Success – 27/02/11
Photograph of Luxor Temple and the Egypt Moving Forward festivities.Luxor celebrated the birth of a new Egypt and invited tourists to return to Luxor through a great community event – ‘Egypt Moving Forward’. Luxor Temple Park came alive with the voices of Luxorians and authentic folkloric entertainment to celebrate the welcoming of a ‘New Egypt’. An exciting celebration of Egyptian life and culture. The itinerary included Stick Dancing with Mezmar Musical Performance, a Sufi Dancing Performance and various speakers. ‘Egypt Moving Forward’ is an Egyptian and foreigner collaborative organisation committed to the future growth of Egypt and showcase the best of what Egypt has to offer.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina Reopens – 25/02/11
Interior photograph of the Bibliotheca AlexandrinaThe Library of Alexandria, also known as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, reopened this week. It was closed for the last few weeks during the demonstrations, both to protect it from vandalism and to protest the army’s curfew. The library’s director, Ismail Serageldin says that in all the protests, not a stone was thrown at the library and not a pane of glass was broken. Visit the Bibliotheca Alexandrina website for more information about the protests and visiting the Library.

Rally to Promote the Return of Tourism on Friday 25th February – 24/02/11
Photograph of the Great Pyramid at GizaStudents of the Faculties of Archaeology and Tourism and Hotels are organizing a rally at the base of the Great Pyramid at Giza, which will take place tomorrow, Friday 25th February – from 10:30 to 16:00. The event is being held to invite the whole world and its tourists back to Egypt following the reopening of archaeological sites and museums across the country. This gala event will include musical performances as part of the ceremony programme.

Bid to Create Tahrir Square as a Tourist Destination – 24/02/11
Photograph of Tahrir SquareTourism experts have called for making Tahrir Square in Egypt a tourist destination as a memorial to the 18-day protests staged in the square which resulted in the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime.   Hisham Zaazou, assistant to the Tourism Minister, said Squares worldwide, especially in European countries, have become tourist destinations due to their significance in history. Tahrir Square has become a symbol of a popular revolution. Protesters have already created an impromptu memorial in the square that includes photos and information about those who died during the protests.

Egypts’ Monuments and Museums Back in Business – 23/02/11
Following three weeks of closure, the following museums and sights have been reopened since Sunday [20/02/11] – Pharaonic, Coptic, Islamic and modern sights in Cairo, as well as in Lower and Upper Egypt – are all now open to receive visitors. According to reports written four hours after the reopening, small groups of between 20 to 50 tourists, including some Egyptians, visited the Giza Plateau, Saqqara and Luxor. Ali El-Asfar, Head of the Giza Plateau Monuments, said that in the last week the number of tourists who came to the Plateau was about 800 people a day and that on Monday [21/02/11] a group of young people organised a peaceful protest at the plateau, in support of the return of international tourism to Egypt. In Luxor, Mansour Borak Supervisor of Antiquities, pointed out that at noon on Monday 93 tourists had visited the Karnak Temple and on Wednesday [23/02/11] there were scheduled visits for two British groups of 200 people.

UK Further Eases All Travel Advice to Egypt – 22/02/11
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has eased travel advice for Egypt, stating: “We no longer advise against all but essential travel to Cairo (all four governorates, including Giza), Alexandria and Suez.  There are no restrictions in this travel advice on travel to Egypt.” They had already stated last week that Luxor and the Red Sea areas were open for travel. View the latest update on the FCO website.

New Statement from Dr Zahi Hawass on the Opening of the Museums in Egypt – 22/02/11
In a new statement Dr Hawass said that, “Over 1,500 Egyptians visited the museum [Egyptian Antiquities Museum] in Cairo on Sunday; I believe that they wanted to see if I was true to my word. Many brought flowers and made it clear that they wanted international tourists to return. I am glad to report that about 90 foreign tourists from Brazil, Japan, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands came to the museum. Tourists from both Egypt and abroad also visited Giza, Saqqara, and sites in Luxor.” To read the full update visit the website.

Dr Zahi Hawass Meets With Young Group of Archaeologists at the SCA – 21/02/11
Dr Zahi Hawass, Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, met with a group of young archaeologists who were representatives of the protesters who have been picketing the Ministry building in recent days. These university graduates have been campaigning for employment within the newly created Ministry, but today came to offer their apologies to Dr Hawass. The meeting was an impromptu event during which the Minister was offered flowers by the students as a gesture of goodwill.

During the meeting, Dr Hawass gave the students the surprise news that new appointments would be made according to a schedule starting in March 2011. The first phase of this plan will provide jobs for 900 archaeologists and restorers, who will be given paid training within the Ministry for a period of 5 months. The second phase will follow the completion of the first phase and will provide the same paid training for 500 people, followed by an identical third phase.

Italy Lifts Travel Ban to Egypt as of  Sunday 20th February – 21/02/11
The Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said the government had decided to lift the ban on travel to Egypt from Sunday 20th February. He added that Italy will support any initiatives to enable them to facilitate the rapid return of the activity of this vital economic sector in Egypt and re-activate it. “Bilateral cooperation between the two countries is at its best levels”, he added, “including academic cooperation between Italian and Egyptian universities and the training of young people”. Read the full story on the Bikya Masr website.

Egypt Starts to Open for Business as Many Travel Bans are Lifted – 20/02/11
The Danish Foreign Ministry, along with Sweden has eased its recommendations for travel to Egypt, telling its citizens it is safe to visit the tourist resorts along the Red Sea. Both Ministries, however maintained its advice to avoid all non-essential travel to the rest of Egypt, in a statement on its website. Some Danish tour operators, such as Atlantis Rejser and Apollo will start sending travellers back to Egypt from March. However, Star Tour, which sends between 15,000 and 16,000 Danish Tourists to Egypt annually, said it did not plan to reverse its decision to cancel all trips to Egypt until the beginning of May.

Meanwhile, Belgian travel agencies Thomas Cook, Tui, Jetair and Neckermann have resumed scheduled trips to the Egyptian Red Sea resorts of Hurghada, Taba, Marsa Alam and  Sharm El Sheikh, following the lifting of the travel ban on Egypt by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also Australia has downgraded travel restrictions in place from a level 5 (a strict “do not travel”), to a level 4 (“consider traveling to Egypt”). The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also updated its travel advice and Transavia have started running trips to Sharm el Sheikh and Luxor. There will also be flights from Friday 18th February to Cairo and from Saturday 26th February to Hurghada.

All Major Heritage Sights and Six Museums Reopened Today – 20/02/11
Photograph of the Coptic Museum in CairoAll of the main heritage sights across Egypt have reopened today [20/02/11], but only six museums have reopened their doors – the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, Coptic and Islamic Museums in Cairo; the Nubian Museum in Aswan and the Luxor and Mummification Museums in Luxor. Other SCA museums are due to reopen soon, but no specific dates have yet been confirmed.

Egypt Starts to Open for Business as Many Travel Bans are Lifted – 20/02/11
The Danish Foreign Ministry, along with Sweden has eased its recommendations for travel to Egypt, telling its citizens it is safe to visit the tourist resorts along the Red Sea. Both Ministries, however maintained its advice to avoid all non-essential travel to the rest of Egypt, in a statement on its website. Some Danish tour operators, such as Atlantis Rejser and Apollo will start sending travellers back to Egypt from March. However, Star Tour, which sends between 15,000 and 16,000 Danish Tourists to Egypt annually, said it did not plan to reverse its decision to cancel all trips to Egypt until the beginning of May.

Meanwhile, Belgian travel agencies Thomas Cook, Tui, Jetair and Neckermann have resumed scheduled trips to the Egyptian Red Sea resorts of Hurghada, Taba, Marsa Alam and  Sharm El Sheikh, following the lifting of the travel ban on Egypt by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also Australia has downgraded travel restrictions in place from a level 5 (a strict “do not travel”), to a level 4 (“consider traveling to Egypt”). The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also updated its travel advice and Transavia have started running trips to Sharm el Sheikh and Luxor. There will also be flights from Friday 18th February to Cairo and from Saturday 26th February to Hurghada.

Tour Groups to Resume German Trips to Egypt – 19/02/11
Two of Europe’s biggest travel companies said that they would restart holidays from Germany to Egypt in March. The German units of British groups Thomas Cook (TCG.L) and TUI Travel (TT.L) had previously cancelled holidays, but the companies move came after the German Foreign Office relaxed its travel advice to Luxor, Aswan and the Red Sea Resorts.

Association of French Tour Operators (CETO) Says Travel to Egypt will Resume on Tuesday 22d February – 19/02/11
According to an article in Le Parisien, the Association of French Tour Operators has taken into account the recommendations made by Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “the destination is now reopened on the entire Red Sea Resorts and cruises (Luxor, Aswan), Nile and Lake Nasser”. Departures to Egypt will resume from Tuesday 22nd February and be “based on aerial and ground operational conditions”. View the full article, (in French) on the Le Parisien website.

Tour Groups to Resume German Trips to Egypt – 19/02/11
Two of Europe’s biggest travel companies said that they would restart holidays from Germany to Egypt in March. The German units of British groups Thomas Cook (TCG.L) and TUI Travel (TT.L) had previously cancelled holidays, but the companies move came after the German Foreign Office relaxed its travel advice to Luxor, Aswan and the Red Sea Resorts.

Association of French Tour Operators (CETO) Says Travel to Egypt will Resume on Tuesday 22d February – 19/02/11
According to an article in Le Parisien, the Association of French Tour Operators has taken into account the recommendations made by Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “the destination is now reopened on the entire Red Sea Resorts and cruises (Luxor, Aswan), Nile and Lake Nasser”. Departures to Egypt will resume from Tuesday 22nd February and be “based on aerial and ground operational conditions”. View the full article, (in French) on the Le Parisien website.

Blue Shield Issues External Report on the State of Egyptian Antiquities – 18/02/11
Blue Shield (an organisation for the protection of cultural heritage during crises) has issued a report on an assessment mission carried out in Egypt during February 2011. The report ‘Civil-Military Assessment Mission for Egyptian Heritage – (February 12-16)’ also includes several photo galleries of sights.  In brief the mission visited Memphis (open air museum unharmed), Saqqara (report on several tombs, all seemingly undamaged despite some
break-ins), Abusir (some illegal digging no deeper than 50 cm; no apparent damage to mastaba of Ptahshepses), Dahshur (De Morgans storage facility broken into several times, large scale looting). To read the full report visit the Blue Shield website.

News on Sights Reopening to the Public on Sunday 20th February – 17/02/11
The latest SCA press release comfirms today [17/02/11] that all of the Pharaonic, Coptic, Islamic and modern sights would reopen to the public on Sunday 20 February 2011.

‘Egypt Moving Forward’ – Luxor Communty Event on 26th February in Luxor Temple Park – 17/02/11
Photograph of the sunset over Luxor TempleBeginning at 15:00 on February 26th, Luxor Temple Park will come alive with the voices of Luxorians and authentic folkloric entertainment to celebrate the welcoming of a ‘New Egypt’. It will be an exciting celebration of Egyptian life and culture. The itinerary will include Stick Dancing with Mezmar Musical Performance, a Sufi Dancing Performance and various speakers. ‘Egypt Moving Forward’ is an Egyptian and foreigner collaborative organisation committed to the future growth of Egypt and showcase the best of what Egypt has to offer.

Tour Operators are Optimistic that Tourism to Egypt Will Bounce Back – 17/02/11
According to a recent Travel Weekly Group (the UK’s leading travel trade media group) report trade is expecting bookings to Egypt to bounce back in the wake of changes in Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice. Egypt’s fortunes turned this week when the UKFCO lifted its ban on all but essential travel to Luxor, the main gateway for Nile cruises. Operators hope that the current ban to Cairo, Suez and Alexandria will be lifted soon. Latest statistics suggest the trade’s confidence is well founded. Analyst GfK Ascent said 3,000 bookings to Egypt were made last week, with average selling prices down £100 on last year. Rea the full article on the Travel Weekly website.

The Stolen Statue of King Akhenaten has been Returned to the Egyptian Museum – 17/02/11
Photograph of the Statue of Akhenaten Making Offerings to AtenFollowing a press conference held on Wednesday [16/02/11] at the Egyptian Museum to announce the return of a part of goddess Nikrit’s [Menkaret] statue, Dr Zahi Hawass also received news that the limestone statue of King Akhenaten has been found. It depicts the King standing wearing a crown and holding an offering in his hands. Hawass stated that the statue was found next to a trash can by a sixteen-year-old boy who was one of the protestors at Tahrir square. He took the statue home and when his mother saw it she called her brother, Sabri Abdel Rahman, a professor at AUC, who in turn called the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs to return the statue. Last night at the Antiquities and Tourism Police station at Cairo Opera House, an archaeological committee headed by Youssef Khalifa, Director of the Stolen Antiquities department at the Ministry, received the statue intact, except for the offering table, which was found separately inside the museum. View Dr Zahi Hawass blog for more information.

Dr Zahi Hawass Issues New Statement on the Current State of Antiquities – 16/01/11
Photograph of the Shabti belonging to Yuya - Courtesy of the Antiquities Museum in CairoDr. Zahi Hawass, Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, announced today that a committee of archaeologists completed a preliminary search of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo and its grounds. The missing Heart Scarab of Yuya was recovered on the west side of the museum gardens, near the new bookshop. Wooden fragments belonging to the damaged New Kingdom coffin, still on the second floor of the museum, were also found in this area.

The search team also found one of the eleven missing shabtis of Yuya and Thuya underneath a showcase. Fragments belonging to the statue of Tutankhamun being carried by the goddess Menkaret have been found; all the located fragments belong to the figure of Menkaret. The small figure of the king has not yet been found.

Read the full update on the Zahi Hawass website and view photos of the restoration workin progress.

UNESCO Calls on Art Dealers and Collectors to be on the Alert for Stolen Egyptian Artefacts – 15/02/11
UNESCO has today [15/02/11] issued a statement by Director-General Irina Bokova calling 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. Read the full statement on theUNESCO website.

New Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities Launches Facebook Page – 15/02/11
The new Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has today [15/02/11] launched a new Facebook page. This is probably no doubt in response to recent protests by unemployed Egyptian archaeologists in front of the SCA office today and growing concerns over the impact of the recently reported looting at the Cairo Egyptian Antiquities Museum and other ancient sights.

Good News – UK Foriegn Office is Now Recommending Travel to Luxor – 15/02/11
The FCO have today updated their official travel advice to Egypt, stating that they are no longer advising against all but-essential travel to Luxor. However, unessential travel is still recommended to Cairo, Alexandria and Suez at the moment. Good news for Luxor though. View the FCO website for their official statement.

Tour Guides Urge Visitors to Return to Egypt – 14/02/11
Photograph of Egyptian Tour Guides at GizaHundreds of Egyptian tour guides gathered today [14/02/11] in the shadow of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids to urge tourists to return to Egypt. The guides – whose business has been badly hit by the crisis – gathered at the Giza Plateau site, bearing Egyptian flags and banners in English, French, Russian and German reading – “Egypt loves you”. You can see the full story and video on the EuroNews website.

Celebrating Egypt on Valentines Day at the Sphinx- 13/02/11
A celebration by Egyptian tour guides and Egyptologists is planned for Monday 14th February at 11:00 local time in front of the Sphinx and Pyramids at Giza. The aim of the event is to invite travellers to come back to visit us here in Egypt.

Twitter #HashTag to Encourage Visitors Back to Egypt – 13/02/11
As you are probably aware, amid the unrest of the past 20 days tourist visits to Egypt have plummeted. However, now that Mubarak has been ousted we are trying to encourage visitors back to Egypt using the hashtag #Come2Egypt on Twitter. Visit Twitter to see the latest Tweets.

Dr Zahi Hawass Reports on the Full Extent of the Looting at the Antiquities Museum in Cairo – 12/02/11
Tutankhamun Goddess Statue - Photo courtesy of The Griffith Institute
Zahi Hawass gives a candid update on the extent of the looting and damage to the Antiquities Museum in Cairo. The staff of the database department at the Egyptian Museum have provided a report on the inventory of objects at the museum following the break in.

Sadly, it seems that they have discovered objects are missing from the museum.

Artefacts such as the gilded wood statue of Tutankhamun being carried by a goddess, statue of Nefertiti making offerings and a heart scarab of Yuya are missing. Investigations are underway to retrieve the objects and question individuals already in police / military custody. Read Zahi Hawass blog website for the full report.

Jane Askhar’s Latest Update from Luxor – ‘All is Quiet’ – 12/02/11
Jane reports that Luxor and Upper Egypt is very quiet and that all sights are safely open to tourists. Calls are being made to Foreign Offices and Ministries to change their current travel advice to declare Upper Egypt as a safe place to travel – “Upper Egypt is completely safe and has been the whole time.” Read Jane’s blog website for more updates.

Al Rawi ‘Egypt’s Heritage Review’ Gives an Update on Egypt’s Museums – 12/02/11
Al Rawi report on their Facebook page updates about the state of Egyptian museums. In an update today [12/02/11], they report that “Despite some threats, museums in Alexandria are reportedly all secure and unaffected. Curators at the Royal Jewellery Museum in Alexandria moved all obejcts into the Museum’s underground safes to ensure their safety. There were reports of the museum catching on fire, but these are untrue.” Take a look at and ‘Like’ the Al Rawi Facebook Page and visit the Al Rawi Magazine website.

Return of Tourists to Egypt – US Tour Operators Decisions Regarding Resumption of Tours and Flights to Egypt – 12/02/11
The US Tour Operators Association (USTOA), carried out a quick poll on Friday to see if the change in leadership would mean an immediate return of tours. One member of the Tour Operators’ Association said they would make a decision on resuming trips to Egypt on Monday [14/02/11]; another indicated they would at this point “arrange travel for anyone who wants to go.” Read the article on the AOL Travel website.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation Supports the Tourism Industry in Egypt – 12/02/11
UNWTO hopes for a quick return to normalcy, peace and stability in Egypt. The tourism community stands ready to support the Egyptian tourism sector and help continue building tourism in Egypt as a key driver of socio-economic development and wellbeing. Read the full article on the Global Travel News Industry website.

CNN Video Released of Restoration Work Going on at Cairo Museum – 10/02/11
CNN have released a video report of the damaged artefacts from the Cairo Museum of Ancient Antiquities being restored. View the video on the CNN website.

Further National Geographic Magazine Report on the Maya Tombs at Saqqara – 10/02/11
National Geographic published a further article on their website concerning the safety of the Maya Tombs at Saqqara. According to a further report from Jeffrey Bartholet, “It turns out the reports were grossly exaggerated. The tomb of the wet nurse is still sealed with bricks. And on Tuesday, inspectors at Saqqara led me into Maya the treasurer’s burial chamber.” You can read the full update on the National Geographic Magazine website.

Update from Dr Zahi Hawass on the Restoration Work at the Cairo Museum and the Other Antiquities – 09/02/11
Dr Zahi Hawass issues a further statement confirming the continued restoration of the artefacts damaged in the Cairo Museum; as well a report that stolen objects from Sinai have been returned. Read the full statement on Zahi Hawass website.

Museum Workers Staged a Protest in Front of the SCA – 09/02/11
Egyptian museum workers stage a protest outside the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Zamalek in Cairo today. Review the protest on the Day Life website.

An Update from the Oriental Institute of Chicago University – ‘Chicago House’ Based in Luxor – 08/02/11
W. Raymond Johnson provides an update on the situation in Luxor. He quotes “I am happy to report that we are safe, Luxor is secure, and we have been keeping a normal work schedule on all of our project sites: Luxor Temple, Khonsu Temple Karnak, Medinet Habu, and the tomb of Nefersekheru TT 107. After some relatively minor (compared to Cairo and elsewhere) demonstrations and vandalism of government buildings during the afternoon and evening of Friday, January 28th, order was restored in Luxor the next day, and it has been peaceful here ever since”. Read the full report on the Oriental Institute website.

Dr Zahi Hawass Endeavours to Clarify the State of Egyptian Antiquities After Much Speculation – 07/02/11
The ‘ICOM Preliminary Report on Museums in Egypt’ was issued at the weekend in order to clarify and assess the current situation and report on the recent damage and looting of Egyptian Antiquities. ICOM is the International Council of Museums and was created in 1946 by and for museum professionals. It has a unique network of almost 30,000 members and museum professionals who represent the global museum community. Hawass states that the report is largely based on the statements he has already made and that ‘Uninformed Statements and Clarifications’ should now be cleared up. Read the full article on Dr Zahi Hawass website. You can also read the full report on the ICOM website.

Article from a US Cultural Heritage Lawyer Regarding Reclaiming Trafficked Egyptian Cultural Artefacts – 06/02/11
It is so important during this time that all international law enforcement remains to be on the lookout for Egyptian antiquities illegally trafficked from the country. This article highlights how in this case US authorities can seize Egyptian antiquities spotted crossing the American border and equally how to report suspected illegal activity. Read the full article on the Cultural Heritage Lawyer blog website.

A National Geographic Report on Checking out the Tombs at Saqqara – 06/02/11
Photograph of Soldier guarding one of the tomb entrances at SaqqaraWith Dr Zahi Hawass’s permission, veteran foreign correspondent Jeffrey Bartholet, on assignment for National Geographic magazine, was able to visit Saqqara, some 18 miles south of Cairo. He spent three-and-a-half hours at Saqqara on Friday February 4th, walking the grounds and visiting tombs with Sabry Farag, General Chief Inspector for the Antiquities Ministry in the area. The government has stated that Saqqara may open to tourists again today [06/02/11]. To read the full article regarding the current state at Saqqara visit the National Geographic website.

Update from Salika Ikram Regarding Various Sights – 06/02/11
Salika reports, “I know that the Sohag area is secure. Natrun seems to be fine, and the areas w/in or next to the monasteries are well protected. All the Luxor and south area sites are totally fine”. This also corroborates with other previous reports coming Luxor and that Karnak Temple was certainly open to the public yesterday.

Speculation Over the Identities of the Damaged Mummies from the Cairo Museum of Antiquities – 05/02/11
Officials have told Discovery News that the damaged mummies are unknown ancient Egyptians from the Late Period. The mummies had been undergoing testing to determine their identities. Despite close examinations of the released pictures, extensive archival research and opinion exchange on social networks, no expert had been able to identify them. Read the full article on the Discovery News website.

Update from Luxor – 05/02/11
Jane Askhar has just reported on her blog that she has just spoke to Mr Gaddis, the Honorary British Consul in Luxor. He confirmed that there is no curfew in Luxor and has recommended to the Vice Consul this morning, that the travel advice for Luxor be down graded. View her update on her blog website.

Daily update from Dr Zahi Hawass – 05/02/11
Dr Zahi Hawass has released a further daily update on the situation regarding Egyptian antiquities. Read his latest update ‘The Sphinx is Sad‘ on his blog website.

Photos from the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities in Cairo – 04/02/11
We thought that you might like to see a few positive images of the Antiquities Museum in Cairo now being protected by the army. [Please note that all images are courtesy of Dr Zahi Hawass website].

Military guarding the Grand Hall 
Inspecting the Tutankhamum Galleries
Inspecting the Tutankhamum Galleries
Egyptians Forming Human Chain Around their Museum
Egyptians Forming Human Chain Around Their Museum
Assessing the Damage to One of the Broken Display Cases
Assessing the Damage to One of the Broken Display Cases

Further video footage of the damage in the Museum can be viewed on the EuroNews website.

Statement from Professor Salima Ikram of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo – 04/02/11
“Egyptian museum continues to be secure. Curators and directors working inside. Southern sites secure and being defended by inspectors and guards and villagers, for the most part. Tremendous sense of national pride. Army remains at the Memphite necropolis to continue to secure it. No new reports of looting there since initial reports”.

Updates from Saqqara by the Friends of Saqqara Foundation – 04/02/11
The Friends of Saqquara Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation aimed at providing financial support for Dutch archaeological research at Saqqara, Egypt. The foundation supports the joint excavation team of the National Museum of Antiquities at Leiden and Leiden University; where the team is researching, documenting and preserving the monuments in the area south of the Step Pyramid of Djoser, where a cemetery of important New Kingdom officials is located. The website features a news page about the current situation in the area and how the sights are being guarded.

Latest Statement from Zahi Hawass on the State of Egyptian Antiquities – 04/02/11
Dr Zahi Hawass issues his daily statement reconfirming the state of Egyptian Antiquities and how restored is being hampered on the artefacts that were damaged in looting that took place in the Museum of Antiquities in Cairo last Friday [25/01/11]. Visit his website to view his latest update.

Museums Rally to Protect Egyptian Sights – 04/02/11
Foundation, a non-profit foundation aiming at providing financial support for Dutch archaeological research at Saqqara, Egypt.Friends of SaqqaraInternational archeologists have volunteered to go to Egypt to help protect the country’s cultural heritage amid violent anti-government protests. “All of us who are friends of Egypt can help the efforts to stop looting of archaeological sites, stores and museums, by focusing on the international antiquities trade,” London’s Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology said in a statement.

Article from the UK Trying to Raise Awareness of the Importance of our Egyptian Antiquities – 04/02/11
This opinion piece from Guardian blogger Jonathan Jones is trying to raise awareness and call people to action to support the protection of Egyptian Heritage and highlight ‘the unique importance and fragility..’ of over 3,ooo years of history. Read the full article on The Guardian website.

Updated Statement from Dr Zahi Hawass Released on 03/02/11 Regarding Museums and Sights – 03/02/11
A further statement from Zahi Hawass released today [03/02/11] reconfirms that, “All of the museums in Egypt, 24 in total, are safe and unharmed; only the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, was broken into”. Read the full statement on his website.

Jane Askhars’ Latest Update from Luxor – 03/02/11
Jane Askhar, a resident and blogger from Luxor has been providing daily updates on the situation in Luxor and how in the main daily life is just ‘business as usual’. Read her blog for the latest news from both the East and West Banks.

Official Announcement from Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass that Egypts’ Treasures are Safe – 02/02/11
An official announcement by Dr Zahi Hawass was released yesterday [01/02/11] to state that the museums and ancient monuments, including the Pyramids of Giza, are now secure. He reconfirms that the sights and museums are now being guarded by the military. He also states that previously looted items have largely been returned. You can read the statement on Dr Zahi Hawass’ blog, as well as an interview with The Washington Post.

As the Internet Returns to Egypt a Statement from a Resident in Luxor – 02/02/11
Jane Akshar – a well known blogger and resident from Luxor gives us her update about the situation in Luxor and how normality is returning to the East and West Banks. Visit herblog for her latest update.

A Statement From the Egypt Cultural Heritage Organisation – 02/02/11
Egypt Cultural Heritage Organisation (ECHO) is a charitable organisation committed to assisting young Egyptians in preserving and managing the world heritage in Egypt. They issued statement yesterday, supporting the Egyptian people at this time as well as expressing their increasing concerns over the protection of the sights in Egypt. Read the full statement originally posted at http://egyptology.blogspot.com/ at the request of ECHO.

Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple Sights are Being Guarded – 02/02/11
Confirmation has been made by an archaeologist working in the Luxor area that the army is now protecting the Royal Tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Several ‘Dig sites’ near the Valley are also being protected by local “neighborhood watch” groups.  As of 01/01/11 none of the looters and illicit diggers have tried to cross their lines. Also Karnak and Luxor Temples, the Luxor Museum, as well as museums and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina are being guarded equally round the clock by young Egyptians and local protection groups in the absence of police and military protection. It has also been confirmed that The Step Pyramid and Imhotep Museum are secure and are being guarded by the army. Steel doors have been welded shut.

Join a New FaceBook Group ‘Protect Egyptian Cultural Heritage’ – 02/02/11
A new FaceBook Group has been set-up in order to support the Egyptian people, as well as urge the Egyptian Authorities to take up their responsibilities and protect museums and archaeological sites in every possible situation. The main aim of the Group is to raise awareness and provide help where it is most needed.  Show your support and join the Group on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/

Egypt Worries About Antiquities Being Smuggled – 02/02/11
Egyptologists all over the world are issuing high-alert statements about the risk of Egyptian antiquities being smuggled abroad. Salima Ikram, Professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, said that, ‘it would be a wonderful gesture if people who are in the antiquity business do not buy any Egyptian artifact at the moment.’ There are increasing concerns of artefacts from both the Old Kingdom and the Memphite Necropolis of the New Kingdom appearing for sale. Read the full story on the MSN News website.

Updates about the Giza Plateau and Karnak Temple from Dr. Gerry Scott – Director of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) – 01/02/11
The ARCE is an organisation that supports nearly 25 projects throughout Egypt and aims to help conserve Egypt’s antiquities. Dr. Scott has both good and bad news. The bad news is that there is antiquities damage at the Giza Pyramids, although the extent is currently unknown, but the Egyptian army is now guarding the Pyramids and access has been restricted.  The good news is that looters attempted to enter Karnak Temple on the night of Saturday 30th January, but were turned back by local citizens. Also ARCE’s conservation work at Luxor continues on and also at Abydos, Scott said that archaeological teams have decided to continue work there. Please read his full account on his website blog.

Unconfirmed Damage to the Pyramid Sights at Saqquara and Abusir – 01/02/11
The storage magazines at Saqqara and Abusir are reported to have been looted over the last few days, however this has not been confirmed by the Egyptian Government. The identity of two reported damaged mummies remains unclear, although one could be that of Queen Tjuya a queen of the 19th Dynasty, who married Seti I (c. 1306-1290 B.C.) Security at the various pyramid fields and other archaeological sites has been implemented with the Egyptian military taking up position at these vulnerable sights. Read more on the Talking Pyramids website.

Sinai Stolen Artifacts Returned – 01/02/11
According to reports from Zahi Hawass the storage magazine that was looted in Qantara, in the Sinai, has had 288 objects returned. It is currently unknown how many objects were actually lost, but it seems that a large majority of what were stolen have now been returned.

‘Egyptologists for Egypt’ Facebook Page Created – 01/02/11
“We egyptologists, archaeologists, anthropologists and other specialists who work in Egypt we cannot ignore the hard social, economic and political conditions people are living in Egypt. We support the righteous demand for justice and democracy”, is the welcome page declaration of the new ‘Egyptologists for Egypt’ Facebook page. – “And we keep an eye on the monuments”. The page has become a field of discussion about what is currently going on across the ancient sights and the aim is to spread awareness about the risks to our Egyptian heritage. Read more about the setting up of the page in an interview on The Atlantic.com website.

New ‘Looters Database’ Created – 01/02/11
A ‘Site by Site’ Database of the Damage to Antiquites in Egypt has been set-up to  record known (or strongly suspected) details of sites looted during this time. The intention is to provide a site by site record of information as it becomes available. If a sight isn’t listed, then there is no present news of damage or looting.  Also where there is confirmation that a sight is safe, then that information will also be added to reassure people. Visit the database at – http://egyptopaedia.com/2011/

Damage to Artifacts and Mummies in the Cairo Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is Restorable – 31/01/11
It was widely reported on Friday 28th January that looters had broken into the Museum and caused great damage to approximately 70 artifacts,  display cases and two mummies. No items as far has been reported were taken from the museum and were retrieved from the looters.

In a statement given by Dr Zahi Hawass that, “they opened thirteen cases, threw the seventy objects on the ground and broke them, including one Tutankhamun case, from which they broke the statue of the king on a panther. However, the broken objects can all be restored, and we will begin the restoration process this week [w/c 31/01/11].”

Photograph of damaged Tutankhamun statues - Courtesy of OsrisNet

Before the army arrived to the secure the Museum, young Egyptians, (some armed with truncheons grabbed off the police), created a human chain at the museum’s front gate to prevent looters from making off with any of its priceless artefacts.

Back to this months ‘What’s happening now in Egypt‘ updates and other archives…

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