Is the Egyptian Museum Under Threat? Looters Got Into Museum, Destroyed 2 Mummies

by Hrag Vartanian on January 28, 2011

Al-Jazeera is reporting a troubling development at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The Qatar-based news network has been extensively covering the political protests that have engulfed Egypt, causing the country to cut off the internet to those within its borders. Al-Jazeera has been showing images of the fires which are burning around downtown Cairo and they mention that the flames could spread to the world-renowned Egyptian Museum.

Mask of Tutankhamun’s mummy (image via Wikipedia)

Officially known as the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, the century-old building exhibits over 100,000 artifacts from ancient Egypt. The insitution is home to the largest and best collections of ancient Egyptian art in the world.

A big portion of the National Museum’s first floor exhibition is dedicated to the finds in the tomb of the 14th century BCE Pharaoh Tutankhamun. The iconic gold death mask of the young pharoah is one of the most famous images of ancient Egypt art. It is unclear if the gold mask and other major artifacts are currently in the museum, though according to a January 21 article in the Japan Times, they certainly appear to be in the country and possibly in the Museum’s storage facilities. It should be mentioned that a large collection of objects from King Tut’s tomb are currently on tour across America.

The internet ban in Egypt appears to have made the Egyptian Museum’s websiteinaccessible.

UPDATE: JAN 28, 12:45pm EST: An Al-Jazeera English reporting is saying that there is no sign of fire services in downtown Cairo and that the Egyptian Museum will be on a high state of alert.

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