Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Amid Egyptian turmoil, will Zahi Hawass remain?

This is an interesting post at The Daily Grail:
Two weeks ago, at the height of the Egyptian popular uprising, I asked whether it might spell the end for the controversial head of Egyptian antiquities, Dr. Zahi Hawass. ... with President Mubarek stepping aside, and the central protest in Tahrir Square winding down, smaller protests against particular 'regime personalities' have begun - and the Big Z appears to be well and truly in the cross-hairs. Around 200 archaeologists have gathered outside the headquarters of the SCA (Supreme Council of Antiquities) with a list of demands, one of which is the prosecution of Dr Hawass "for corruption and accountability for the theft of 18 masterpieces from the Cairo Museum". This Associated Press article makes clear that many professional archaeologists and students have had enough of the self-serving ego of the antiquities chief.

One would think that ZH is a canny enough operator to work his way out of this current mess though...despite the backlash, his monopolisation of Egyptian archaeology does give his CV enough 'oomph' for him to perhaps argue that only he is qualified enough to guide Egyptology forward in such uncertain times. However, according to this report he may already be packing his bags.

... This Discovery News piece also lists more archaeologists disparaging (would "tut-tutting" be too crass?) the Big Z, as well as addressing the strange issue of the conflicting reports about the Cairo Museum looting/vandalism (in a related note, apparently two of the stolen treasures have been found on the ground outside the museum).

And yet bizarrely, given recent events, Dr Hawass will be holding a press conference at the Cairo Museum on Wednesday to announce the results of the DNA testing of King Tutankhamen. Getting on with business, or a handy smoke-screen in a time of crisis? Whatever the reason, it's just one more controversy that the pharaoh of Egyptian archaeology has found himself involved in. ...

via Daily Grail Frontpage | TDG - Science, Magick, Myth and History.

1 comment:

Anne Roberts said...

At long last people are waking up to the fact that Hawass is nothing but a upstart showman. I recently went to a presentation in the British Museum, where Hawass was supposed to be presenting "new & exciting" work. Ha! All we got was a load of photos with him grandstanding at various locations with loads of overseas VIP's and celebs. - what absolute rubbish. Unless Egyptologists cow tow to Hawass (i.e. put his name 1st on any papers, allow him to "discover" anything interesting - I could go on....) you do not get permission to excavate in Egypt. The fact he was the "lead" author in a paper about the DNA analysis of Tutankamun's family published in a prestigious American Journal sent me into an apoplectic rage - WHAT DOES HE KNOW ABOUT DNA ANALYSIS? NOWT!!!

Egypt's people rise up and get rid of him, you have so many learned and well qualified people who could take forward the research into Egypt's glorious past in a dignified and scholarly manner. It was interesting that some of the comments in the CB News article were favourable to him - I bet a lot of them were hedging their bets in case he manages to stay on. One word of criticism of him and you are out.

And another thing... the fact he calls King Tutankamun "King Tut" proves he is an idiot, no one who has any respect for the scholarship of Ancient Egypt calls him "KING TUT" uck!