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Egyptian Antiquities Chief Resigns – NYTimes.com

Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s powerful and controversial antiquities chief, resigned on Thursday along with the prime minister, after posting on his Web site for the first time a list of dozens of sites that have been looted since the beginning of the uprising that led to the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.

Reached by telephone, Mr. Hawass said he was happy that he had made the “right decision” in resigning and lashed out at colleagues who have criticized him, including one who has accused him of smuggling antiquities.

Among the places Mr. Hawass named as having been looted were the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s storerooms at its excavation site in Dahshur, south of Cairo. In a statement the Met’s director, Thomas P. Campbell, described that incident as having taken place several weeks ago.

Mr. Campbell expressed alarm about continuing looting, calling it “a grave and tragic emergency.” In a statement, which was issued before Mr. Hawass’s resignation was confirmed, he said:

“The world cannot sit by and permit unchecked anarchy to jeopardize the cultural heritage of one of the world’s oldest, greatest and most inspiring civilizations. We echo the voices of all concerned citizens of the globe in imploring Egypt’s new government authorities, in building the nation’s future, to protect its precious past. Action needs to be taken immediately.”

via Egyptian Antiquities Chief Resigns – NYTimes.com.

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