More Guns Surround Egypt’s Ancient Treasures

Security has been tightened around all ancient attractions in Egypt in an attempt to show the restoration of order and to prevent any further valuable artifacts from being stolen and taken out of the country. The announcement regarding more gunned men protecting the country’s historic treasures has been made earlier today by Zahi Hawass, the Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs.

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During the political turmoil earlier this year generated by massive protests against President Hosni Mubarak several Pharaonic-era artifacts disappeared from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and from a warehouse near the pyramids of Dahshour. Some of the items have since been returned and security protocols are back in place around most popular tourist sites.

Yet apparently there was not enough security and tighter protection was needed, although no other attempts to steal Egyptian artifacts have been mentioned.

“We are now protecting the Egyptian monuments, we’re putting security everywhere … we are putting guards with guns everywhere,” Hawass explained. “People feel the stability now.”

Of the items lost, the artifacts returned to Egyptian authorities included a wooden statue of Tutankhamun, a gilded bronze and wood trumpet and a fan that belonged to the same Pharaoh and an ushabti, an ancient funerary figurine. 37 historic treasures are still missing at this time, although according to Hawass, the extent of the theft was limited, considering the chaos ruling the city during the protests:

“Egypt’s youth protected the museum from major looting and damage.”

Hawass, praised by some and accused of smuggling Egyptian antiquities out of the country by others, is also planning to embark on an extensive mission of bringing back ancient treasures to the country, including some who have been taken out long before the anti-Mubarak protests.

In the mean time, tourists visiting Egypt should expect tightened security everywhere, including armed guards, and thorough scrutiny of their actions during their historic tours of Cairo’s ancient attractions.





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