Month of September, 2011
The dismantlement of an international mummy and artifact smuggling ring by US authorities in July raised alarms about the status of stolen Egyptian artifacts in transnational black markets. The daily newspaper Metro-New York recently reported that three New York men were arrested for smuggling 2000-year-old Egyptian artifacts into the US from the United Arab Emirates by lying custom officials about the contents of their luggage.
After a nine month pause due to lack of security following Egypt’s January revolution, seventy five foreign archaeological missions resumed their work today all over Egypt. “These missions are 25 per cent of the foreign archaeological missions who work in Egypt,” said Mohamed Ismail supervisor of the Permanent Committee and Foreign Missions Affairs Section at the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).
Twelve antiques dealers were arrested in Minya province by Police detectives cooperating with the Public Security Authority after they tried to sell artifacts taken from tombs. Major Gen. Ahmed Gamal, assistant Minister of Interior for public security, said that 12 antiques dealers in the city of Adwa were attempting to sell ten granite statues, 12 metal statues, a statue on a black granite base, and four scarabs.
According to the agreement signed between Egypt and Japan concerning the technical requirements of the company to carry out the third phase of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking the Giza Plateau, the GEM Committee will prepare a shortlist of the qualified companies proposed in the bid to select the winning one.
The Egyptian ambassador in Australia, Omar Metwali, received 122 archeological pieces from Australian authorities. The pieces were retrieved from an auction house in Melbourne in November 2010. The Egyptian embassy in Australia issued a statement announcing the Australian authorities caught these pieces after the Egyptian embassy presented an official request to retrieve them. The archeological pieces date back to the Pharaonic, Greek and Roman eras.
Egypt's antiquities chief resigned after a series of strikes by employees, saying the institution that looks after the country's treasures has been left paralysed.
Azza Farouq, dean of Cairo University’s Faculty of Archaeology, has revealed that 3000 unregistered antiquities were found recently in the rest rooms of the faculty’s museum on campus. Preliminary reports said that the pieces are rarer than others displayed in major Egyptian or foreign museums, and that they have a high value. Farouq has requested the Giza Prosecution to investigate the matter and establish the reason for the negligence.
Egypt's Prime Minister Essam Sharaf on Thursday appointed Mustafa Amin the new antiquities chief tasked with protecting the country's treasures. Amin, who had been heading the Islamic archaeology department of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), took over from Mohammed Abdel Fattah who resigned last week amid strike pressure.