For years Zahi Hawass was a superstar among Egyptologists and one would say, archaeologists in general. Even those who weren’t archaeologists or in related fields were familiar with him. Not only did he have his own program on the History Channel, he appeared frequently on shows on the Discovery and National Geographic channels. He was an author and a passionate advocate for cultural preservation. Held in favor by the Egyptian government—even appointed as the Minister of Antiquities in 2011 by President Hosni Mubarak—he was lauded for raising Egypt’s profile in the world. However, fortune and politics can be lethal twins. After the toppling of the Mubarak government, Hawass became a persona non grata in his own country. He lost his TV show, was arrested by the Egyptian government (and later released) and was heaved unceremoniously out of his office and the spotlight. And with the ongoing unrest in Egypt, he has much to ponder as to the future of his country and the fate of Egyptian heritage. Continue reading
Tag Archives: antiquities
*Below is a Huffington Post article by Deborah Lehr, Chair of the Capitol Archaeological Institute. AntiquityNOW is an affiliate of the Institute. The article raises critical points elucidating the nexus of cultural heritage, economic viability and criminal racketeering—issues reflecting a sad and ancient saga of looted treasures and lost inheritance.
Many of us are familiar with crimes committed by organized gangs, from drug running, the weapons trade, to the sex trade. However, there is one kind of crime, the looting and trade of antiquities that is on par with these abhorrent black market businesses, yet seldom discussed. The illegal trade in art and antiquities or cultural racketeering is one of the top five most profitable illegal global businesses. It ravages cultural icons and deprives local communities of their heritage. If we don’t take a stand, we are not just allowing these criminals to steal our common history, but also the future economic potential of these communities. Continue reading