Minister of State for Antiquities Zahi Hawass met today a group of American Egyptologists led by Deborah Lehr, director of the Capitol Archaeological Institute at George Washington University to discuss ways of collaborating to protect Egypt’s heritage.
During the meeting, Hawass discussed with the American Egyptologists different ways of collaborating to protect all archeological sites and museums in Egypt, especially those that were subjected to break-ins.
The meeting came within an initiative launched by American Egyptologists from several archaeological institutes and universities in the aftermath of the January 25 Revolution to act as mediators between the Egyptian and American governments in an attempt to help Egypt protect and safeguard its archaeological heritage.
The American Egyptologists mission also asked the American government to take all required procedures to prohibit the entrance of any stolen Egyptian artefacts to the United States.
During the meeting, Hawass reviewed the extent of encroachment on archaeological sites, as well as the procedures taken by the MSA to remove such encroachments in collaboration with the Tourism and Antiquities Police and the Egyptian Army.
Hawass also discussed several other ways of collaborating such as developing more up-to-date magazines. Past collaborations such as the 47 galleries built over the past five years had played an important role in protecting Egypt’s treasures during the absence of security in the post-revolutionary period.
Another means of cooperation would be to establish a fund to finance improvements in safeguarding certain archaeological sites, such as building walls around them and providing more trained security personnel. Among these sites would be the areas of Midoum in Beni Suef and Maria in Alexandria.
Ramadan Badri Hussein, the archaeological supervisor at the minister’s office, said the fund would also finance the establishment of a database for all the artefacts currently in storage.
The American Egyptologists also suggested a project to monitor every archaeological site in Egypt by providing satellite images that would locate any illegal excavations and put a stop to them.
The Egyptologists also promised to launch an international fundraising campaign to provide funding to spruce up the Grand Egyptian Museum overlooking the Giza Plateau and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation on Sira Lake at Fustat.