Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, February 11, 2011

With a blog post from the Egyptian Minister of State for Antiquities, Dr Zahi Hawass, and various photographs and videos, a fuller picture is emerging  of the items damaged in the Egyptian Museum.  (I am not going to take them in the same order as Dr Hawass)  If you prefer the Zahi promotional snippet, then here it is from Reuters. You'll need to follow the link for that one.  As previously linked, the BBC also has a small number of photos.

If you are really interested in the subject, I suggest watching all of the videos as they show many items which are safe and untouched.  That is the most important thing, of course.  Fortunately there are too many to document, and I am so thankful that it is that way around.

Recapping the Break In

It is good to start with a recap of the break in, especially as this video from MSNBC has previously unreleased details, for instance showing the skylight by which the thief (thieves?) broke in.

The CNN version of the same, also shows the damage in the gift shop. 

1. The Cartonnage from the Mummy of Thuya

Dr Hawass has said:
The fourth group contains the damaged mummy bands of Thuya. .. Thuya’s mummy bands are gilded cartonnage, and thankfully, only one section was damaged. The upper part of one god was broken off the open work of the bands, but luckily no other damage was sustained.
This short video shows the apparent damage.  It is always a shame when something undamaged for thousands of years is damaged, but it has been and now restoration is the priority.

2. Shabtis - Yuya and Thuya and from the Late Period

Dr Hawass says, "The fifth group of objects includes statues and shabtis belonging to Yuya and Thuya and some dating to the Late Period. All of these objects are currently undergoing restoration." These are items we didn't previously now had been damaged and it is still unclear which shabtis have been damaged, and how badly.  In the Hawass article, there is a photo showing a table spread with a range of articles.  As this is analysed independently by people like Margaret Maitland, then some details might emerge.

3. Middle Kingdom Wooden Models

Dr Hawass says,"The final group includes the pieces belonging to a wooden boat model and pieces from the model troop of Nubian archers, both dating to the Middle Kingdom. These objects will also be able to undergo a full restoration."

Not much more information is available on these objects, although the Hawass article does have a new photograph of the damage to the boat. The MSNBC also has good coverage and a quick introduction by Dr Hawass.  After the National Geographic story which mentioned this boat was pulled, I was concerned that the damage had been much greater than initially shown.

The National Geographic video embedded in the next section, also confirms damage to one of the wooden figures.

4. Various Unspecified Objects

Dr Hawass says of this group. "The first group contains pieces that are all in good condition and do not need any restoration work." That isn't quite the same as saying that they are undamaged ...  There are also some damaged items, "The second group contains objects that need minor restoration work. Some of the pieces in this group include statues of gods and goddess in good condition, and a faience vase with one piece broken off; this vase has already been repaired."

If you want to understand which objects are in which of these two categories, I think that this National Geographic video has the details. You'll need to stop the video and analyse the frame, perhaps in conjunction with the photo of the table of objects in Dr Hawass' blog.

5. Tutankhamun's Walking Sticks

This video from the Wall Street Journal shows at 1:38 that all the pieces of the two walking sticks which were damaged (so far as we know - the fate of the others is unverified) are present.

(Video link corrected: sorry I was editing this when the Mubarak announcement aired)

The video adds little more knowledge about damaged items but again shows further items which were not damaged. For instance, one early report suggested damage to the golden shrines from Tutankhamun tombs and I have been looking in particular for photos of those. This has glancing coverage of the smallest one - I think!

6. Statues of Tutankhamun

This is the bit which worries me.  If you have been through all of the linked and embedded material, you will see the trauma this statue has undergone.  That this has been restored so quickly is concerning of itself.  Dr Hawass has said:
The third group includes the pieces of the broken statue of Tutankhamun standing on a panther. This beautiful statue of gilded wood displays the standing king wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt, holding a flail in his right hand, and a staff in his left. The statue seems to have been used to smash other showcases, and unfortunately the left arm, holding the staff, has been broken off. The panther is broken at the legs, and its tail and right ear have also been broken. Much of the gilding from the statue has also been broken off. I am happy to say, despite the extent of the damage, that this can be restored in a few days time. 
There is also no mention of the other damaged statue, which is also concerning, particularly because it is also absent from all of the videos and photos I have managed to find.

Stolen Items ?

In an ecouraging sign that openness might be supplanting spin, Dr Hawass has also confirmed that he needs a report to ensure that nothing has been stolen; and has commissioned this.  Hopefully this is the new Egypt.  If items have been taken from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo or from other museums, magazines or sites, then altering the international community may help their recovery.  That is what we all want.

Update 17:15

Going back over the list from the Looting Database, while bringing that up to date again, three items are missing from my list above:

  1. The damaged, small, wooden statue of Akhenaten.  This is probably included within one of the above lists, but is sufficiently important to deserve its own mention.
  2. Two Late Period Mummies
  3. One New Kingdom mummy case which was disturbed - it is unclear whether it sustained any damage


Margaret said...

Hi Kate,

Sadly the New Kingdom coffin was indeed damaged and this article has a good photo of it:

You also mention the damage to the large wooden model boat- the MSNBC video shows it best I think and it appears to be completely smashed. I don't think it could be much worse unless it was burned. Very sad.


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