Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, February 13, 2011

Andie Byrnes reported late last week of demonstrations by SCA staff calling for an increase in their pay.  Welt Online have carried a more detailed piece investigating SCA finances, titled "Mubarak bekam auch Zinsen von Tutanchamun".

Google translate just doesn't cope with it at all well.  So I would be grateful if anybody could please correct any mistakes I have made in summarising it.  I would also recommend reading it yourself as some points I just cannot make enough sense of to publish here.

In essence, it seems to tell a tale of SCA finances based on an interview given by Dr Wafaa el-Saddik, the former Director of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, at the weekend.  For balance, the SCA has criticised an earlier interview given by Dr el-Saddick relating to the looting of the Cairo Museum, saying, "I would like to make it clear here that the information provided by Dr. El-Saddik is untrue and are not based on credible sources."

Dr el-Saddick claims the Egyptian Museum drew €125,000 ($170,00).  The article doesn't say whether that is daily or monthly, but with with thousands of daily visitors, it seems likely that is the daily income.  She reports that nonetheless museum staff go hungry and cannot afford to take their sick children to the doctors and alleges that much of the income doesn't go to subsidise other SCA sites, but was paid over to "the Mubarak regime".  She also alleges that as Director she had to fight for funds for special projects, even security, and that in the end the cost of fire-resistant paint for the facade was paid for by a German donor.  (Paint which might have saved the Cairo Museum from an even worse fate over the past couple of weeks.)  The article then looks at other SCA fees.  The Egypt State Information Service (i.e. an Egyptian Government site), reported in August 2010:

Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawwas said that the last displaying trip of Tutankhamun hit dlrs 100 million.
Hawwas said that the authority's income has increased to reach one billion Egyptian pounds  [$175m] from the revenues of museums inside and the antiquities' displaying tours abroad.

The Welt Online article says that Thomas Hoving (former Director of the Met) alleged that the income from the 1970s Tutankhamun overseas exhibitions was paid into an account in Greece and that the balance of that account stood at $35m in 2004.  Dr Hawass denied these reports, saying that the money had been used to restore two temples.


Stephanie said...

The figure cited is indeed the daily (taeglich) income of the Egyptian Museum.
What a vast amount!
The article further criticizes the horrendous fees payable for things like filming in museums or visiting Amenhotep III`s tomb (each 2000.- Euro/Dollar,can`t remember which one right now). In any case a rip-off.

The SCA furthermore demanded of each station of the Tutankhamun exhibition touring since 2004 in the US to raise $ 10 million. The then director of the Met declined but many other museums were prepared to comply with the conditions.

It really is sad to see how much of a profit-making organization the SCA has become and how little apparently the employees and the antiquities benefit from it!

Kate Phizackerley said...

I have removed a comment which was potentially libellous. I am happy for people to express opinions on all sides of the debate and hate removing comments, but please remember that I cannot permit serious accusations against an individual unless they are proven.

Feel free to repost the comment saying what you wish would happen, just don't say "person X is Y" please.

In this sorts of cases it doesn't matter whether I agree or disagree with what has been said, Ijust have to think of what I can legally allow.


Scrabcake said...

Having read Hany Hanna's facebook post and his fear of retribution for it-- It occurs to me that...

SCA archaeologists need to Unionize.

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