Is Zahi Hawass good for Egyptian Archaeology?

Apr 2010
1,296
#1
It seems like everything these days coming out of Egypt concerning antiquities has Hawass' name associated with it. Can anyone dig in Egypt without Hawass' approval? Does he co-opt "outside" Archaeological excavations by demanding a native-born Egyptologist be a part of the team? Does he control everything that is found? Does Zahi demand to be in charge of all of the press releases? Can anyone film in Egypt without his authorization?

Egypt is a police state, and it is clear the Hawass is their man. I admit that I find him very irritating. Share your thoughts and stories.
 
Dec 2009
11,340
Ozarkistan
#3
When I visted Saqqara (on a number of occasions), various rock-cut tombs of nobles were open sporadically to public entry, in company with a galabeya-clad guide. Some of the tombs were spectacularly decorated with murals, beautifully preserved; we were strictly forbidden to use camera flashes, because the light deteriorates the mural pigments, yet we were so crowded into the tight spaces that we were perforce rubbing our clothing against the murals. Hawass is as much minister of tourism as he is archaeologist, and if the income from tourism goes towards better conservation of antiquities, then he's a worthy. He does tend to ham it up, though.
 

tjadams

Ad Honoris
Mar 2009
25,362
Texas
#4
Agreed O.Pointer.
Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Hawass and Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni both want to right centuries of injustices, political looting and wrestle back control of what are Egyptian national treasures.
Dr. Hawass wants to tighten up all diggings and research in Egypt. Too long excavation teams from other countries have sauntered in to dig sites and excluded Egyptian professionals.
Dr. Hawass has a great responsibility and has a fiery passion for what he does, I admire that. He is perhaps hard to work for if one is not prepared, careful in their research or doesn't fully take their work seriously. One cannot allow slipshod work in archeology, one mistake by an amateur and something could be lost forever.
Other countries have rules, departments and guidelines to work within, Dr. Hawass is just aligning Egypt into a more efficient program of preservation and restoration. I highly respect the man.
 

Belisarius

Forum Staff
Jun 2006
10,359
U.K.
#5
Whereas Egypt's heritage should be protected, I'm uncomfortable with the fact that Hawass controls not only the finds but has a say in the interpretation of those finds. Any theories or evidence that don't fit into the "orthodox" Hawass view of Egyptian history are "suppressed" one way or another.
 

tjadams

Ad Honoris
Mar 2009
25,362
Texas
#6
...Any theories or evidence that don't fit into the "orthodox" Hawass view of Egyptian history are "suppressed" one way or another.
How do we know that what Dr. Hawass is proposing isn't finally the correct interpretation of the material? History should never be stagnant.
 
Aug 2010
16,205
Welsh Marches
#7
I find him quite a character, but wouldn't like to think he has too much influence on what views are expressed, since many of his own are rather quirky.
 

kbear

Ad Honorem
Sep 2010
6,431
#9
look up "narcissistic personality disorder" and you shall see a picture of dr. hawASS.:p . don't like the guy at all, he's a jerk and an attention whore. i'm sure he may have 1 or 2 good qualities but he must keep those hidden very well:D
 
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