MET Repatriates Antiquities to Egypt and More on Hawass’ Dismissal

Posted on August 3, 2011


Yesterday, I was interviewed by WYNC’s “All Things Considered” radio broadcast on the repatriation of 19 objects from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to Egypt, and the recent dismissal of Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs.

Listen to the Audio here (at 41:55).

Read more in the corresponding article, Metropolitan Museum Returns Antiquities Found in King Tut’s Tomb to Egypt.

One thing that didn’t come out in the broadcast or print edition was an interesting discussion I had with the interviewer regarding the basis for the repatriation.  If you read the MET’s rationale (reflected in their press releases and public statements), they maintain the objects were returned because their researchers determined Egypt had valid title to the objects.  Accordingly, they were justifying the return via legal authority.  Meanwhile, Egypt thanked the MET for doing the morally correct and ethical thing in their public statements.  This subtle inconsistency reflects the precedent that each party wants or is unwilling to establish for repatriations.