Early in the days of the protests in Cairo, thieves broke into the famed Egyptian Museum: On January 28, nine men broke into the museum and destroyed two mummies and damaged a number of ancient and invaluable artifacts, including two statues of Tutankhamun.
But, as reported in the February 12 New York Times, the thefts were much more extensive than first described by Zahi Hawass, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities—-and archaeologists and others are asking, why did he try to downplay the theft?
Two days after the break-in, Hawass was promoted to Hosni Mubarak’s cabinet as minister of antiquities. On Saturday, February 12, Hawass says on his website that several important—-invaluable and irreplaceable—-items have been stole and that the thieves had broken 70 objects, including two sculptures of Tutankhamen, as well as having taken two skulls from a research lab. He writes:
The staff of the database department at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo have given me their report on the inventory of objects at the museum following the break in. Sadly, they have discovered objects are missing from the museum. The objects missing are as follows:
1. Gilded wood statue of Tutankhamun being carried by a goddess
2. Gilded wood statue of Tutankhamun harpooning. Only the torso and upper limbs of the king are missing
3. Limestone statue of Akhenaten holding an offering table
4. Statue of Nefertiti making offerings
5. Sandstone head of an Amarna princess
6. Stone statuette of a scribe from Amarna
7. Wooden shabti statuettes from Yuya (11 pieces)
8. Heart Scarab of Yuya
An investigation has begun to search for the people who have taken these objects, and the police and army plan to follow up with the criminals already in custody. […]