Goodness gracious, where did all of January go?? So much for “slow time” at the MSA… Anyhow, I’m very happy to be able to say that I have two students working with me. Angie comes to us from UFV and puts in 10 hours per week on our behalf. She doesn’t spend all of them here, but she does help me with things such as our educational kits, my catalogue, fundraising and PR – all then things we do in a day. James is much younger and comes to us via the school district. He is a terrific help at the office. It may sound stupid, but trust me, some of the really simple tasks like shredding, alphabetizing things and scanning bugs us down in a big way. There are a zillion miniscule tasks to be completed each week that are simple but time consuming, and James can do those things for us. The best part is that Sheila has been hired on full time now. Sheila is a colleague and also my friend, so the atmosphere in the office at the moment really could not get any better. It’s nice to be able to say that I belong to the small part of the work force that actually looks forward to going to work every day.
I am saddened by the news of the extensive purposeful damaging and looting of archaeological artifacts in Egypt. Not only are the buildings in which the artifacts are being housed damaged, but magazines that were sealed off for the protection of either people or artifacts (sometimes both) have been breeched, stores looted and for some reason, some people have felt the necessity to willfully damage some of the thousands of years old mummies. Because I am active within the archaeological community, I am now starting to get some very distressing messages from Egypt requesting help to protect these artifacts. Many people are very reluctant to get involved, as this is to do with politics and a political uprising that we do not want to or are unable to take sides in, but then again, it is called World heritage. It is such a shame. I suppose that if one is starving and looking to feed ones family, then one will do just about anything to do so, but an awful lot of this has to do with just wanton destruction of cultural property. In the end, the people that I am really appalled with are the shylocks that actually buy these stolen treasures. I can go to the net right now and find you stolen artifacts, and not just from Egypt. That makes me sick.
A few years ago, this beautiful mummy from one of the world’s war torn regions was available for purchase at a popular on-line auction site. It was purported to be several thousand years old, had some gold foils and gem stones on the casing and so on. Fortunately, someone with some actual authority got wind of this. By that time, the on-line bids were up in the hundreds-of-thousands of dollars. The mummy was confiscated through an international sting. Turns out it really was a mummy. Turns out there was gold leaf and some cheap gems. Turns out the mummy was not old but new. Hopefully the woman whose body was mummified was already dead, as opposed to killed for this specific purpose. Hopefully she has no grieving family that does not know where her grave is or are wondering if she is dead or alive.
All I’m saying is that this stuff is not addicting like heroin. You can just NOT buy the stuff, because if there is no market for stolen property, then there will be no vendors of it, either. Kind of like that old saying “what if there was a war and nobody came”.