August 25, 2013

UNESCO posts listing of looted objects from the Malawi National Museum in the Upper Egypt city of Minya

'The Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities informed UNESCO of the looting of the Malawi National Museum on August 14, 2013,' UNESCO reports on its website:
The damages caused by the looters are catastrophic. Most of the artefacts have been stolen, destroyed or burned. Around one thousand cultural objects, dated from the beginning of the Egyptian history to the Islamic period, have disappeared (coins, jewels, statues, etc).
UNESCO has posted a list of stolen objects in Arabic from the Malawi National Museum in Minya, about 150 miles south of Cairo.  Minya is the birthplace of Suzanne Mubarak, the former First Lady of Egypt (1981 - 2011). A copy of this listing, including photos of the looted objects can be downloaded from the ARCA website here.

Egyptian cultural heritage professionals are using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to bring public awareness to the damages that have occurred during this recent period of unrest.   Because of awareness antiquities police have succeeded in returning 71 stolen objects from the museum in addition to the 19 returned shortly after the initial looting.

The Supreme Council of Antiquities has a list of museums in Egypt. The only institution with the name 'Malawi' is the Malawi Monuments Museum:
The Malawi Monuments Museum houses a collection of artefacts from the nearby sites of Tuna al-Gebel and Hermopolis. Among the objects on display are a number of animal mummies and statues associated with the worship of the god Thoth.
Tuna al-Gebel (Supreme Council of Antiquities):
Hermopolis West, on the modern site of Tuna al-Gebel near Minya, was the necropolis of the city of Hermopolis, sacred to the Greek god Hermes and his Egyptian counterpart Thoth. It is best known for the sprawling catacombs at the foot of the western cliffs, where thousands of ibises (dedicated to Thoth) and other sacred animals were buried from the New Kingdom through Roman times. Besides multitudes of ibises and baboons, the galleries were also used for the burials of fish, pigs, dogs, cats, goats, pelicans, monkeys, falcons, larks, and kestrels, all mummified and placed into pottery jars. Potsherds and torn and broken mummies are still strewn in the passages today.
Another major attraction of the site is the early Ptolemaic tomb of a high priest of Thoth named Petosiris, decorated with reliefs in a blend of Greek and Egyptian styles. Petosiris's wooden coffin, exquisitely inlaid with colored glass hieroglyphs, can be seen in the Egyptian Museum.
A number of Roman-era tombs lie to the south. The most famous of these belongs to Isadora, a young woman who drowned in the second century BC. Her mummy lies in a glass case in her tomb.
The oldest monument at Tuna al-Gebel is a stele marking the northwest boundary of Akhenaten’s city at Amarna, partway up a slope north of Hermopolis West. It bears scenes of Akhenaten and Nefertiti worshipping the sun disk (the Aten) and is carved with an extensive text describing the founding of the city.


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