Sunday, September 16, 2012

Egyptian Administrative Court Orders Return of Artifacts on Display in US

An Egyptian administrative court has ruled that objects in a US travelling exhibition should be returned home because they improperly left the country.  Former Egyptian antiquities Pharaoh Hawass has been charged with corruption based on his links to this exhibit.  It's unclear if Egyptian authorities believe that Hawass skimmed any of the money from the travelling show or they solely claim that improper procedures were followed in allowing the artifacts to be exhibited abroad.  

It is clear that this action will cause headaches for Hawass' friends in the US, including National Geographic.  (The Rupert Murdoch connection in the article is unclear, though presumably it relates to the National Geographic Cable TV channel.)   Before the revolution, National Geographic was paying Hawass as much as $200,000 per year for being an "explorer in residence."

The US Government has been very aggressive in seeking the repatriation of Egyptian artifacts, but  seemingly uninterested in determining if there have been any financial improprieties related to payments for this exhibit.  Given the money involved, one would think there should be some investigation even if it would by necessity look at Hawass' friends associated with the archaeological lobby.

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