?There have been twists and turns in this story during the day with Antiquities re-absorbed into the Minstry of Culture or maybe the Minstry of Tourism: nobody seemed quite sure which. Then a group of prominent Egyptian archaeologists lobbied hard and fast and have secured a commitment from the Prime Minister for the Antiquities Service as a separate entity, reporting directly to cabinet.
There is an election planned for Friday to elect a new Head of the SCA (cabinet minister)? The seven names on the list are reported to be:
- Dr Abdel Halim Nur al Din
- Dr Ali Radwan
- Dr Sabri al Aziz
- Dr. Alaa Shahine
- Dr. Mamdouh Amr
- Dr Mamdouh Amaty
(My apologies if I have mis-spelt any names. I am been relying on a list of six names Sarah Parcak posted on Facebook together with an Arabic source. I have tried to get them as accurate as I am able.)
I have struggled with reporting this story. Much of it is only being covered in Arabic so I might have misunderstood, and I have yet to ascertain the composition of the electorate. There are also people pushing to have other candidates added to the list. I know it has been a tough time for antiquities and the damage done to sites is certainly bad news, but in the long term a vibrant and independent Ministry for Antiquities might more than offset the present negatives, especially if the new Head of Antiquities has a strong mandate from his colleagues within SCA.
In the meantime, Dr Hawass reported on his blog yesterday that he continues in office until his successor is appointed.
Although Dr Hawass said that the Egyptian Museum expected to complete its inventory of missing objects on Sunday, no new list has been published.