For most people, Zahi Hawass, star of his own cable TV series, purveyor of his own line of Indiana Jones-style wide-brimmed hats, and most prominently the man in charge of all the top cultural sites in Egypt, personified the swashbuckling adventurer of yore, determined to protect and cherish the many wonders of Ancient Egypt.
There was another side to Dr. Hawass, however, and his reactionary and sometimes capricious rulings on who could visit and research the sites were the stuff of legend among Egyptologists outside of his approved, establishment allies.
I’m a little skeptical that his resignation is anything more than a power play and suspect that he may very well make a well-staged, dramatic comeback — but if he really has gone for good, I’m hopeful that we may enter into a new era of breakthrough research in Egypt (perhaps from some of the great alternative researchers such as Andrew Collins, Ahmed Osman, John Anthony West and Robert Bauval).
Here’s the story on his resignation, in the New York Times:
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…
[continues in the New York Times]