During protests against Egypt’s leader Hosni Mubarek looters tried to steal precious artifacts from the Cairo’s Egyptian Museum last Friday. Looters are using the chaos in the country to try to loot historic areas, archaeological sites, and museums, and are probably looking for gold.
Civilians and police helped secure the Museum’s priceless treasures on Saturday. More citizens formed a human chain around the outside of the museum to keep additional looters from getting in. Although nothing has been stolen, some artifacts were damaged, such as two royal mummies whose heads fell off. Ordinary people have protected historic sites in other areas in Egypt, too, such as Luxor and Alexandria. National Geographic fellow Fredrik Hiebert explains that historical objects in Egypt are easier to loot than in other places. “In Iraq and Afghanistan, people [had] moved away from the archaeological sites.” Egypt is mostly desert, though, so “you can’t move anywhere–the Nile is it.”
National Geographic explorer-in-residence Zahi Hawass says that the country’s museums are now safe and guarded by the army, and should open near the end of the week.
Read more about the situation in Egypt on National Geographic News.
See pictures of what was damaged on National Geographic News.
Get the facts on Egypt on National Geographic Kids.
Read an interview with National Geographic fellow Fredrik Hiebert on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, National Geographic