El Hibeh Friday update 4 May 2012

Latest update from Dr Carol Redmount



El Hibeh remains of a child mummy

Child’s foot. Truly outrageous. Now reburied.

This was supposed to be a regular Friday update, but yesterday got away from me so for this week it is a Saturday update. I flew directly from Cairo to the national Annual Meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt, the main professional organization for U.S. Egyptologists, where I gave a paper on the Hibeh looting entitled “Collateral Damage: El Hibeh Middle Egypt and the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.” The presentation was well attended and well received, with a number of people commenting that the damage came through much more forcefully on a large screen than on face-book. I have also received several invitations to speak on the topic at local ARCE chapters, which of course I will accept. I am now back in Berkeley, while Andy remains on the front lines in Cairo.


My re-entry into California life has been somewhat disrupted by the sudden and unexpected death of my home desktop computer, my primary work station. Even more helpfully the thing died right after downloading off the server (so I can’t access it) about the previous two week’s worth of e-mails plus some earlier ones I was saving to respond to immediately upon my arrival in Berkeley. Fortunately everything is backed up (or supposed to be), but it will take me a few more days to get the replacement computer up and running and the back-up information onto the new computer with the help of a university technical person.

Now that we are out of the field we are regrouping and charting our short and long-term courses of action. We are NOT going to stop agitating for protection for Hibeh, and we are going to continue to do our best to keep raising awareness of the looting problem at Hibeh and at Egyptian sites more generally, and to maintain pressure on the authorities to adequately protect cultural heritage sites to the greatest degree possible. All, of course, with your help; we cannot do any of this alone. 

We recognize, of course, that at present our Egyptian friends and colleagues, and for that matter all Egyptians (as well as ourselves and many non-Egyptians) are focused on and intently following the Egyptian elections. It remains to be seen how the election process plays out, especially given the recent violence in Cairo, and what the results are. Nevertheless we hope and pray that everyone does not completely lose sight of the on-going damage being inflicted on Egypt’s antiquities in the current unsettled situation, and that attention to cultural heritage safety does not get totally engulfed in the vortex of politics and the elections. Once sites are gone, they are gone forever.

As far as Hibeh specifically goes, our efforts will not stop. We will continue our efforts to keep Hibeh (and antiquities more generally) in the public eye and we are working on further media campaigns about which you will hear more shortly. Inter alia, I will be giving lectures at various venues over the coming months highlighting the destruction at Hibeh. We are NOT going away. 

As always we thank you for your steadfast support and for all your efforts on our behalf.

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