Hawass in 2009
|1st Minister of Antiquities|
January 31, 2011 - March 3, 2011
|Mohamed Ibrahim Ali|
April 5, 2011 - July 17, 2011
|Born||May 28, 1947|
Damietta, Kingdom of Egypt
|Alma mater||University of Pennsylvania|
Zahi Hawass (Arabic: ? ?; born May 28, 1947) is an Egyptian archaeologist, Egyptologist, and former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs. He has also worked at archaeological sites in the Nile Delta, the Western Desert, and the Upper Nile Valley.
Hawass was born in a small village near Damietta, Egypt. Although he originally dreamed of becoming an attorney, he obtained a bachelor of arts degree in Greek and Roman Archaeology from Alexandria University in Alexandria, Egypt in 1967. In 1979, Hawass earned a diploma in Egyptology from Cairo University. Hawass then worked at the Great Pyramids as an inspector--a combination of administrator and archaeologist. When he was 33 years old, Hawass was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to attend the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to study Egyptology, earning a master of arts degree in Egyptology and Syro-Palestinian Archaeology in 1983, and his PhD in Egyptology in 1987 from the Graduate Group in the Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World (AAMW), concentrating on "The Funerary Establishments of Khufu, Khafra and Menkaura During the Old Kingdom."
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After 1988, Hawass taught Egyptian archaeology, history and culture at the American University in Cairo, and the University of California, Los Angeles. Hawass has described his efforts as trying to help institute a systematic program for the preservation and restoration of historical monuments, while training Egyptians to improve their expertise on methods of excavation, retrieval and preservation.
Hawass was appointed to the position of Chief Inspector of the Giza Pyramid Plateau,[when?] but left the position in 1993--according to Hawass, a resignation. Hawass was reinstated as Chief Inspector in early 1994. In 1998, Hawass was appointed as director of the Giza Plateau, and in 2002 as Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.
As his biography at the National Geographic Explorers webpage notes, he states that he is
responsible for many recent discoveries, including the tombs of the pyramid builders at Giza and the Valley of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya. At Giza, he also uncovered the satellite pyramid of Khufu. In 2005, as part of the National Geographic Society-sponsored Egyptian Mummy Project to learn more about patterns of disease, health, and mortality in ancient Egypt, he led a team that CT scanned the mummy of King Tutankhamun. His team is continuing to CT scan mummies, both royal and private, and hopes to solve some of the mysteries surrounding the lives and deaths of such important figures as Hatshepsut and Nefertiti.
When U.S. President Barack Obama was in Cairo in June 2009, Hawass gave him personal tours of the sites of ancient Egypt. At the end of 2009, he was promoted by President Hosni Mubarak to the post of Vice Minister of Culture.
On January 29, 2011, in the midst of the Egyptian protests of that year, Hawass arrived at the Egyptian Museum to find that a number of cases had been broken into and a number of antiquities damaged, so police were brought in to secure the museum. According to Andrew Lawler, reporting for Science, Hawass "faxed a colleague in Italy that 13 cases were destroyed. 'My heart is broken and my blood is boiling,' the... archaeologist lamented."
Hawass later told The New York Times that thieves looking for gold broke 70 objects, including two sculptures of Tutankhamun, and took two skulls from a research lab, before being stopped as they left the museum.
He was appointed Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, a newly created cabinet post, by Mubarak on January 31, 2011 as part of a cabinet shake-up during the 2011 Egyptian protests.[dead link] A press release including a statement from Hawass stated that he "will continue excavating, writing books, and representing his country," ensuring that archaeological sites in Egypt were being safeguarded and looted objects returned. Regarding the Egyptian Museum looting, he said that "The museum was dark and the nine robbers did not recognise the value of what was in the vitrines. They opened thirteen cases, threw the seventy objects on the ground and broke them, including one Tutankhamun case, from which they broke the statue of the king on a panther. However, the broken objects can all be restored, and we will begin the restoration process this week."[This quote needs a citation] Hawass rejected comparisons with the looting of antiquities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On February 13, Mahmoud Kassem of Bloomberg reported Hawass as saying that "18 artifacts, including statues of King Tutankhamun," were stolen from the Egyptian Museum in January; Kassem, paraphrasing Hawass, continues, "The missing objects include 11 wooden shabti statuettes from Yuya, a gilded wooden statue of Tutankhamun carried by a goddess and a statue of Nefertiti making offerings."
Egyptian state television reported that Hawass called upon Egyptians not to believe the "lies and fabrications" of the Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya satellite television channels. Hawass later said "They should give us the opportunity to change things, and if nothing happens they can march again. But you can't bring in a new president now, in this time. We need Mubarak to stay and make the transition." On March 3, 2011 he resigned after a list was posted on his personal website of dozens of sites across Egypt that were looted during the 2011 protests.
Hawass was reappointed Minister of Antiquities by then-Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, On March 30, 2011 a tweet was posted stating "I am very happy to be the Minister of Antiquities once again!" but resigned on July 17, 2011, after Sharaf informed him he would not be continuing in the position. According to opinion report from an Egyptian commentator in The Guardian, Hawass was "sacked".[dubious ][better source needed]
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Hawass has since begun working as a lecturer in Egypt and all around the world, and promoting Egypt's tourism globally in cooperation with the country's Ministry of Tourism. He also writes weekly articles in various newspapers and magazines, and continues working as an archaeologist and consultant.
Hawass has written and co-written many books relating to Egyptology, including The Curse of the Pharaohs: My Adventures with Mummies, and King Tutankhamun: The Treasures from the Tomb, the latter published to coincide with a major exhibition in the UK.[better source needed][original research?] He has also written on Tutankhamun for the bi-monthly, UK-based magazine Ancient Egypt.
Hawass has appeared on television specials on channels such as the National Geographic Channel, The History Channel and Discovery Channel. Hawass has also appeared in several episodes of the U.S. television show Digging for the Truth, discussing mummies, the pyramids, Tutankhamun, Cleopatra, and Ramesses II. He also appeared on Unsolved Mysteries during a segment on the curse of Tutankhamun's tomb. In 2010, Hawass appeared on a reality-based television show on The History Channel called Chasing Mummies.
In June 2007 Hawass announced that he and a team of experts may have identified the mummy of Hatshepsut, in KV60, a small tomb in the Valley of the Kings. The opening of the sealed tomb was described in 2006 as "one of the most important events in the Valley of the Kings for almost a hundred years."
Hawass spearheaded a movement to return many prominent unique and/or irregularly taken Ancient Egyptian artifacts, such as the Rosetta Stone, the bust of Nefertiti, the Dendera zodiac ceiling painting from the Dendera Temple, the bust of Ankhhaf (the architect of the Khafra Pyramid), the faces of Amenhotep III's tomb at the Louvre Museum, the Luxor Temple's obelisk at the Place de la Concorde and the statue of Hemiunu, nephew of the Pharaoh Khufu, builder of the largest pyramid, to Egypt from collections in various other countries. In July 2003 the Egyptians requested the return of the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum. Hawass, as Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Cairo, told the press, "If the British want to be remembered, if they want to restore their reputation, they should volunteer to return the Rosetta Stone because it is the icon of our Egyptian identity." Referring to antiquities at the British Museum, Hawass said "These are Egyptian monuments. I will make life miserable for anyone who keeps them." Britain has refused to return them.
Alex Joffe of the Wall Street Journal expressed the opinion that the looting of antiquities during the 2011 civil unrest in Egypt made Hawass' quest to return Egyptian antiquities to Egypt "misguided or at least poorly timed."
Hawass has been skeptical of the DNA testing of Egyptian mummies, "From what I understand," he has said, "it is not always accurate and it cannot always be done with complete success when dealing with mummies. Until we know for sure that it is accurate, we will not use it in our research."
In December 2000, a joint team from Waseda University in Japan and Cairo's Ain Shams University tried to get permission for DNA testing of Egyptian mummies, but was denied by the Egyptian Government. Hawass stated at the time that DNA analysis was out of the question because it would not lead to anything.
In February 2010, Hawass and his team announced that they had analyzed the mummies of Tutankhamun and ten other mummies and said that the king could have died from a malaria infection that followed a leg fracture. German researchers Christian Timmann and Christian Meyer have cast doubt on this theory, suggesting other possible alternatives for Tutankhamun's cause of death.
Hawass is the recipient of the Egyptian state award of the first degree for his work in the Sphinx restoration project. In 2002, he was awarded the American Academy of Achievements' Golden Plate and the glass obelisk from US scholars for his efforts to the protection and preservation of Ancient Egyptian monuments. In 2003, Hawass was given international membership in the Russian Academy for Natural Sciences (RANS), and in 2006, he was chosen as one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine.
Hawass has been accused of domineering behaviour, forbidding archaeologists to announce their own findings, and courting the media for his own gain after they were denied access to archaeological sites because, according to Hawass, they were too amateurish. A few, however, have said in interviews that some of what Hawass has done for the field was long overdue. Hawass has typically ignored or dismissed his critics, and when asked about it he indicated that what he does is for the sake of Egypt and the preservation of its antiquities.
Hawass has been a long-standing opponent of normalised relations between Israel and Egypt. In January 2009 Hawass wrote in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that "The concept of killing women, children, and elderly people ... seems to run in the blood of the Jews of Palestine" and that "the only thing that the Jews have learned from history is methods of tyranny and torment -- so much so that they have become artists in this field." He explained that he was not referring to the Jews' "[original] faith" but rather "the faith that they forged and contaminated with their poison, which is aimed against all of mankind." In an interview on Egyptian television in April 2009 Hawass stated that "although Jews are few in number, they control the entire world" and commented on the "control they have" of the American economy and the media. He later wrote that he was using rhetoric to explain political fragmentation among the Arabs and that he does not believe in a "Jewish conspiracy to control the world".
Criticism of Hawass, in Egypt and more broadly, increased following the protests in Egypt in 2011. On July 12, 2011, The New York Times reported on a story on page A1 that Hawass receives an honorarium each year "of as much as $200,000 from National Geographic to be an explorer-in-residence even as he controls access to the ancient sites it often features in its reports." The Times also reported that he has relationships with two American companies that do business in Egypt.
On April 17, 2011, Hawass was sentenced to jail for one year for refusing to obey a court ruling relating to a contract for the gift shop at the Egyptian Museum to a company with links to Hawass. The ruling was appealed and this specific sentence was suspended pending appeal. The following day, the National Council of Egypt's Administrative Court issued a decree to overturn the court's original ruling, specifying that he would serve no jail time, and would instead remain in his position as Minister of Antiquities. The jail sentence was lifted after a new contract was solicited for the running of the gift shop.
As Minister of Antiquities, Hawass has been closely associated with the government of former President Hosni Mubarak. His resignation as minister on March 3, 2011 and his re-appointment to the Ministry on March 30, 2011 have been seen as part of the overall events surrounding Mubarak's resignation. It has been reported that his re-appointment has angered numerous factions, who have opposed the appointment of any of the old guard under Mubarak to new positions in the government. The 2011 Egyptian protests resulted in increased criticism of Hawass. Demonstrators called for his resignation, and the upheaval has increased attention on his relationship with the Mubarak family and the way in which he has increased his public profile in recent years.
Hawass has lent his name to a line of men's apparel, described by The New York Times as "a line of rugged khakis, denim shirts and carefully worn leather jackets that are meant, according to the catalog copy, to hark "back to Egypt's golden age of discovery in the early 20th century"; the clothing was first sold at Harrods department store in London, in April 2011. Critics say the Hawass clothing commercializes Egyptian history, and objected to their understanding that "models had sat on or scuffed priceless ancient artifacts during the photo shoot," an accusation that was denied by Hawass and the clothing manufacturers. Hawass already sells a line of Stetson hats reproducing the ones he wears, which "very much resemble" the ones worn by Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies.
Zahi Abass Hawass / The Funerary Establishments of Khufu, Khafra and Menkaura During the Old Kingdom / 1987
World-renowned archaeologist Zahi Hawass serves as minister of state for antiquities and director of excavations at Giza, Saqqara, and the Bahariya Oasis. / He is responsible for many recent discoveries, including the tombs of the pyramid builders at Giza and the Valley of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya. At Giza, he also uncovered the satellite pyramid of Khufu. In 2005, as part of the National Geographic Society-sponsored Egyptian Mummy Project to learn more about patterns of disease, health, and mortality in ancient Egypt, he led a team that CT scanned the mummy of King Tutankhamun. His team is continuing to CT scan mummies, both royal and private, and hopes to solve some of the mysteries surrounding the lives and deaths of such important figures as Hatshepsut and Nefertiti.
Subtitle: A definitive answer to the question: Should the Elgin Marbles be returned to Greece?
The current political upheaval in Egypt has put the country's famed antiquities, from its museums to archaeological sites, under siege. / On 29 January, a small band of looters entered Cairo's Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, slicing the heads from two mummies, smashing display cases, and damaging other artifacts, according to media reports and Zahi Hawass, the director of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. Hawass, who a source says has been promoted to the new position of Minister of Antiquities as part of a cabinet shakeup yesterday, faxed a colleague in Italy that 13 cases were destroyed. "My heart is broken and my blood is boiling," the U.S.-trained archaeologist lamented.
A vast majority of Egypt's museums and archaeological sites are secure and have not been looted, Zahi Hawass, Egypt's chief antiquities official, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. He also rejected comparisons between the current situation in Egypt and scenes of chaos and discord that resulted in the destruction of artifacts in Iraq and Afghanistan. / 'People are asking me, "Do you think Egypt will be like Afghanistan?" ' he said. 'And I say, "No, Egyptians are different -- they love me because I protect antiquities." '
The Egyptian Museum reported that 18 artifacts, including statues of King Tutankhamun, are missing after a break-in last month, said Zahi Hawass, the head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. / The police and army are following up on the disappearances with people in custody, Hawass said on his website. The missing objects include 11 wooden shabti statuettes from Yuya, a gilded wooden statue of Tutankhamun carried by a goddess and a statue of Nefertiti making offerings, according to Hawass.
As hundreds of Egyptian protesters filled Tahrir Square on Monday, many calling for their president to go into exile, one of the two state-owned television stations had its cameras focused elsewhere, capturing the steady flow of traffic on a Cairo bridge. ... The channel announced that Zahi Hawass, the chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, had called on Egyptian citizens not to believe the 'lies and fabrications' of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya channels. Mr. Hawass was back on the air on Monday, when he was appointed to Mr. Mubarak's cabinet.
Demonstrations of Egyptian Archaeologists Call for Egypt's New Prime Minister to Persuade Zahi Hawass to Remain Minister for Antiquities.
"Verbatim and complete: I am very happy to be the Minister of Antiquities once again!
He may liken himself to Indiana Jones, but the minister of antiquities epitomised all that was wrong with Mubarak's Egypt.
It's amazing to think how the story of a boy king, who ruled for only about a decade thousands of years ago, still attracts the interest of millions of people, but that's exactly what's happened with Tutankhamun. / Known more fondly these days as King Tut, which may have something to do with a struggle to spell his full name, an exhibition of the wonders found with him in his final resting place is once again touring the world. / When the exhibit first went on tour in the 1970s, the exhibition set records for the numbers of people who passed through the doors at various venues around the world to see it. It was last in London at the British Museum in 1972 - the year I was born - so when I heard it would be returning to the city, I figured this could be our once in a lifetime opportunity to see it. / The exhibition is made up of 11 galleries... Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs is open at the O2 Dome in London from now until August 30, 2008. Its next stop will be in Dallas, Texas, where the exhibition will open on October 3, 2008.
The Egyptian "boy king" Tutankhamun may well have died of malaria after the disease ravaged a body crippled by a rare bone disorder, experts say. / The findings could lay to rest conspiracy theories of murder. [Announcement of results only; no scientific journal referenced.
Abstract: The cause of death of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun has now for decades been matter of speculation and various hypotheses. A recent article in... JAMA... provided new evidence and suggested malaria, together with Köhler's disease, as the most probable cause of death of the boy king. We are sceptical towards this elucidation of the cause of death... and discuss alternative and differential diagnoses, among them, ...sickle cell disease and Gauche's disease.
quote = "Abstract. Objective: To investigate the true character of the harem conspiracy described in the Judicial Papyrus of Turin and determine whether Ramesses III was indeed killed. / Design Anthropological, forensic, radiological, and genetic study of the mummies of Ramesses III and unknown man E, found together and taken from the 20th dynasty of ancient Egypt (circa 1190-1070 BC). / Results Computed tomography scans revealed a deep cut in Ramesses III's throat, probably made by a sharp knife. During the mummification process, a Horus eye amulet was inserted in the wound for healing purposes, and the neck was covered by a collar of thick linen layers. / Forensic examination of unknown man E showed compressed skin folds around his neck and a thoracic inflation. Unknown man E also had an unusual mummification procedure. According to genetic analyses, both mummies had identical haplotypes of the Y chromosome and a common male lineage. / Conclusions This study suggests that Ramesses III was murdered during the harem conspiracy by the cutting of his throat. Unknown man E is a possible candidate as Ramesses III's son Pentawere. ... [Specifically] Genetic kinship analyses revealed identical haplotypes in both mummies... using the Whit Athey's haplogroup predictor, we determined the Y chromosomal haplogroup [to be] E1b1a.
The King Tut exhibition set to open on June 16 in Los Angeles, bringing the boy king's treasures to the United States for the first time in a quarter-century, is in just about every sense a reflection of Zahi Hawass, the man who made the show possible. / Dr. Hawass, who controls Egypt's vast archaeological trove as secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, is part Indiana Jones, part P.T. Barnum -- intent on dusting off Egypt's holdings through a mix of entertainment, commerce and archaeology.
Until recently Zahi Hawass, Egypt's antiquities minister, was a global symbol of Egyptian national pride. A famous archaeologist in an Indiana Jones hat, he was virtually unassailable in the old Egypt, protected by his success in boosting tourism, his efforts to reclaim lost artifacts and his closeness to the country's first lady, Suzanne Mubarak. / But the revolution changed all that. / Now demonstrators in Cairo are calling for his resignation as the interim government faces disaffected crowds in Tahrir Square.
Zahi Hawass, Egypt's longtime chief antiquities official, has been criticized in recent months for many things: his closeness to former President Hosni Mubarak, some inconsistent reports on the safety of archaeological sites during the uprising and for his role in a dispute over an Egyptian museum bookstore, for which he now possibly faces jail time. / But the source of the latest controversy to beset Mr. Hawass resembles something straight from the mouth of J. Peterman, the character on 'Seinfeld' based on the clothing catalog retailer of the same name. / Mr. Hawass has lent his name to a men's wear brand: a line of rugged khakis, denim shirts and carefully worn leather jackets that are meant, according to the catalog copy, to hark 'back to Egypt's golden age of discovery in the early 20th century.'
Cites interview appearing in 'Travel Egypt' magazine, 2004.