Thursday, May 03, 2007

Egypt politely asks for loan of its artifacts
Egypt said Sunday it would seek the temporary return of some of its most precious artifacts from museums abroad, including the Rosetta Stone and a bust of Nefertiti.

The country's chief archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, said the Foreign Ministry would send letters this week to France, Germany, the U.S. and Great Britain requesting that the ancient artifacts be loaned to Egypt.

Hawass has previously demanded the permanent return of many of the artifacts, claiming some of them were taken illegally.

This time, the country is requesting museums loan the artifacts so they can be exhibited at either the 2011 opening of the Egyptian Museum near the Great Pyramids at Giza, or the Atum museum in 2010.

That's the whole thing. I would wager. . . .well, who knows. One doubts that any country would trust. . . .hmmmm. I had several thoughts at once on this. On the one hand, at first blush I would doubt any country would send over something really significant like the Rosetta stone or Nefertiti's head and expect it would ever come back. OTOH, who knows, it might be a bit of kabuki theater designed to allow countries to give the stuff back without really acknowledging that they either had it illegally or that they were, in fact, giving it back. Should be interesting to see what the response is.