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Dec

Nefertiti Summit Moved to December 20, 2009

   Posted by: Keith Payne   

Categories: Egypt in the News

nefertit-altes-tabThe Nefertiti Summit has been moved back from December 8 to December 20, according to a recent article appearing on Qatar’s The Peninsula:  “Egypt to hold talks over bust of Queen Nefertiti.” 

In a previous article that appeared on France 24, Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, stated that the director of the Egyptian antiquities department would be coming to Cairo on December 8, 2009, to present his evidence that the famous bust of Nefertiti had been removed from Egypt via “proper channels” (Source).

The iconic statue was brought to Germany in the early days of the Twentieth Century by archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt.  But since 1930 Egypt has insisted the acquisition violated the rules in place at the time, which required that singularly unique artifacts were to remain in Egypt.  Hawass insists that Egypt is in possession of evidence that Borchardt knowingly and illegally removed the bust by deception. 

According to The Peninsula, the director of the Egyptian Papyrus Collection will represent Berlin’s Neues Museum at the December 20 summit.  Dr. Hawass will speak for Egypt.  “The only thing we are going to discuss is whether the director has any legal papers to show that the bust of Nefertiti left Egypt legally,” Hawass said. “All evidence that I collected till now shows the bust of Nefertiti left Egypt illegally” [story no longer online].

The Bust of Nefertiti—still stirring hearts after all these years (Photo by RinzeWind)

The Bust of Nefertiti—still stirring hearts after all these years (Photo by RinzeWind)

The bust of Nefertiti was moved from the Altes Museum to the newly-restored Neues Museum on September 4, 2009, and has been on public display since October 17.  Dietrich Wildung, director of Berlin’s Egyptian Museum, had originally dug in his heels regarding the issue of repatriation, but Hawass’ recent success with forcing the Louvre to return five sections of a wall removed from the tomb of Tetaki (TT15) seems to have everyone in the mood to discuss their options again.

Ultimately the entire argument may prove to be moot.  Wildung claims that the artifact is too delicate to risk moving to Cairo, and regardless of who may have legal claims to it, the statue’s safety must be the primary concern.  It would seem that the logical first step would be to have a neutral third party of experts evaluate the condition of Nefertiti and determine whether or not she is safe to travel.  But having a decision before Hawass is allowed to present his evidence might rob Egypt of an opportunity to strike a moral victory, if not actually bring the queen home.

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Copyright by Keith Payne, 2009.  All rights reserved. 

Photographs “la belle est venue” by Audinou and “Berlin 053” by RinzeWind are used in accordance with this Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 at 7:10 pm and is filed under Egypt in the News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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