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BAR Interviews Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s Infamous Antiquities Chief

April 18, 2011

CONTACT: Dorothy D. Resig
The Biblical Archaeology Society
Phone: 1.800-221-4644 ext. 242
Fax: 202-364-2636
E-mail: dresig@bib-arch.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 18, 2011)—BAR Interviews Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s Infamous Antiquities Chief

The Biblical Archaeology Society is pleased to announce the publication of “Egypt’s Chief Archaeologist Defends His Rights (and Wrongs),” an exclusive interview with Zahi Hawass in the May/June 2011 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR). Hawass is Egypt’s archaeological star, who has appeared in television specials on the National Geographic Channel, the History Channel and Discovery Channel. In the waning days of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s rule, he appointed an entirely new cabinet, promoting Zahi Hawass from Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities to be the new Minister of Antiquities. Only a few days after Mubarak stepped down in February in the face of unparalleled popular demonstrations, some of the protesters shifted their focus to Hawass himself. Faced with these public demonstrations and mounting reports of missing artifacts and continued looting at Egypt’s ancient sites, Hawass announced in early March that he would resign from his ministry position. He still had support within the government and archaeological community, and on March 30, Hawass was reappointed Minister of Antiquities by the prime minister. More news came on April 17, however, when an Egyptian criminal court sentenced Hawass to one year in prison for ignoring a previous court ruling over a land dispute and ordered that he be relieved of his governmental duties and pay a fine.

Just a few days before the protests erupted in Egypt, BAR editor Hershel Shanks sat down with Zahi Hawass in his Cairo office to discuss if and how Egyptian archaeology can help illuminate Biblical history. Their fascinating and lively conversation ranges from possible evidence of Israelites in Egypt to Hawass’s campaign to bring six high-profile artifacts back to Egypt (including the famous bust of Nefertiti and the Rosetta Stone). Hawass also discusses claims that he is anti-Semitic.

The Biblical Archaeology Society and BAR are proud to present this exclusive interview, “Egypt’s Chief Archaeologist Defends His Rights (and Wrongs)” with Zahi Hawass, available in the May/June 2011 BAR print edition as well as on our Web site.