Sunday, June 15, 2014

News, Cairo: Egyptian Archaeologists Union calls to protect heritage

Head of Egyptian Archaeologists Union
Abdel Halim Nour al-Din
The Egyptian Archaeologists Union called the Ministry of Antiquities Wednesday to care and protect Egypt’s heritage and secure it from looting and different damages, according to Youm7.

It is necessary that ministry employees and archaeologists open dialogue with officials to benefit from their experience and proposed projects in this issue, Union head Abdel Halim Nour al-Din told Youm7 Wednesday.

Nour al-Din said authorities should make future plans, long and short term, to secure museums and Egyptian monuments. He also said that employees in the field of antiquities want to feel stable and secure and officials should listen to their calls through communication and cooperation. In his statements, Nour al-Din stressed the union will not mention specific persons and will only speak about policies.

Egyptian Archaeologists Union statements were made the same day of the Ministry of Antiquities’ announcement to confirm media reports that Egypt managed to restore 12 ancient artifacts. The ministry said the artifacts were smuggled outside the country illegally after the January 25 Revolution in 2011.

The ministry coordinated efforts with Ministry of Foreign Affairs to restore the stolen antiquities from London, according to minister Mohamed Ibrahim in the press release. He said the Egyptian Embassy received the historical pieces after a British Court sentenced that restoring artifacts to Egypt without the usual routine procedures.

Ibrahim also said the smuggled antiquities will be in Egypt by the end of June, indicating that the ministry will not let go of any artifacts looted and transferred illegally abroad. The ministry had announced back in May that it located five looted ancient Egyptian artifacts in Hungarian Museum and a French auction house. The mentioned artifacts were stolen in 2002 from an ancient temple south of Sakkara, according to ministry’s statement.

Also in May, Egypt received three ancient artifacts from Germany, after a German court permitted Egyptian authorities to reclaim the smuggled artifacts, according to the Egypt’s Foreign Ministry’s announcement. Egypt’s Ambassador to Germany Mohamed Hegazy received the three pieces, which were intercepted by the German custom’s authority before being smuggled to Belgium in 2009.

In April, Egypt’s authorities seized ten artifacts which were stolen from the Egyptian Museum during the January 25 Revolution in 2011. The ministry also announced then that Cairo will retrieve 11 other artifacts from the U.S. and Germany.

Ancient cemetery disappeared from the archaeological site of Gebelein, Egypt’s Heritage Task Force posted on their Facebook page May 2. They explained the reason of the historical site vanishing due “to urban and agricultural expansion.”
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