81 artefacts missing from Egyptian museum and Tel El-Faraein

Nevine El-Aref , Wednesday 16 Mar 2011

The final result of two inventories carried out at Tel El-Faraein storehouse in the Delta and the Egyptian museum in Tahrir Square, reveal the exact number of objects missing from both sites

Bronze Fish

The ministry of state for antiquities affairs has released the results of two inventories carried out at theTel El-Faraein storehouse in Kafrul Sheikh in the delta and the Egyptian museum in Tahrir Square in Cairo, both of which were looted in the aftermath of the 25th January revolution.

Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, the director of the central administration for antiquities in Alexandria and Lower Egypt told Ahram Online that the inventory at Tel El-Faraein revealed that 27 objects were missing from the storehouse, which houses thousands of objects from excavations carried out in different sites there.

He explained that the missing objects included 20 bronze coins from the Roman and Islamic eras, a limestone relief engraved with a Greco text, a statue inscribed with a hieroglyphic text and four clay pots.

The storehouse at Tel El-Faraein was looted last week, when an armed gang tied up its guards and succeeded in entering the storehouses. Some of the ministry guards escaped, and caught four gang members red-handed. A list has been sent to the prosecutor for investigation.

At the Egyptian museum in Cairo the result of the inventory was published, showing the number of its contents and of the missing objects.

It was revealed that 54 ancient Egyptian artefacts disappeared during the break-in.  These included four gilded statues depicting Tutankhamun, one of which has been retrieved, as well as bronze statues representing the Nile god Hapi and a collection of objects featuring various ancient Egyptian royalty and deities.

The museum director, Tarek El-Awadi said that the list was compiled after photographs of the displays were checked against the museum’s official registers. He said that among the items were certain artefacts of which certain parts had been found, but the administration has decided to include these amongst the missing objects until the rest are found. The list is now being sent to the prosecutor-general for investigation.

Some believe that the release of these two reports is part of the new system in place in the ‘post-Hawass regime’, the former minister of state for antiquities affairs.  Others maintain that Hawass announced several times that the inventory process at the museum had not been completed

A ministry official who requested anonymity told Ahram Online that the report is not a result of the ‘new post-Hawass regime’.  

The report was commissioned under Hawass during his tenure, and the fact that the museum now has a registration department and images of most of its objects, both on display and in storage, is due in great part to his advocacy of training for the ministry staff.

The office of minister of state for antiquities affairs is still vacant as no one has been appointed to succeed Hawass.

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