During the government protests in Egypt on January 28, 2011, artifacts from the Egyptian museum in Cairo were damaged. A group of people, or “looters”, broke into the museum and smashed about thirteen vases, a panther statue from King Tutankhamen’s tomb and stole jewelry from the gift shop. Restoration on the damaged artifacts began on Sunday. The Egyptian government has announced that the museum will remain closed until the overnight curfews are lifted.
Many Egyptologists and archaeologists are very concerned about the effect that the protests and looters will have on some of Egypt’s priceless treasures and artifacts. Kara Cooney, an assistant professor of Egyptian art and architecture at the University of California, Los Angeles, told CNN last month, “With 80 million people in a country that suffers from poverty and rising food prices … you have to expect that some people are going to be desperate and look for any means necessary to try to improve their lot.”
What can the international community and the Egyptian government do to insure that Egypt’s priceless artifacts are kept safe during this time of political and economic turmoil?