LONDON: None of the mummies in Cairo’s main archaeological museum were damaged during a break-in last week but 70 other exhibits will need restoration, top Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass said on Sunday.
Media reports during Egypt’s political unrest had quoted Hawass as saying that looters damaged two mummies, but in a BBC interview on Sunday he said that this was not the case.
"They were not mummies, there were two skulls taken outside from the CT scan machine. Everything will go back to normal at Cairo Museum today," said Hawass, head of Egypt’s antiquities authority since 2002. He was made a cabinet minister last week.
On his own website, Hawass said the 70 broken antiquities included a statue of the boy pharaoh King Tutankhamun on a panther and some later objects, all of which can be restored.
Egypt’s pharaonic remains are a key part of its tourism industry, and the unrest in Cairo had raised fears that the country could suffer the same loss of cultural heritage as occurred in Iraq in 2003 after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Egypt’s cultural treasures are now secure, Hawass said. "The Valley of the Kings is safe, the pyramids are safe, 24 museums are safe, the synagogues and the monasteries and the Muslim monuments are completely safe," he said. (Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Mark Heinrich)