World-renowned Egyptian archeologist and former head of the country's Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawass has been renamed Egypt's Minister of Antiquities.
Hawass resigned earlier in March saying that he was leaving because the Egyptian Army could not protect all the ancient sites during the uprising that led to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power, AFP reported.
The veteran archeologist said on March 29, 2011, that he did not ask to come back, but that there was no one else who could do the job. “I cannot live without antiquities, and antiquities cannot live without me,” he said.
Hawass had become Egypt's Minister of Antiquities under the ousted president.
Looters attacked some ancient sites and museums while Egypt was rocked by unprecedented demonstrations against Mubarak's rule.
Some 70 objects including two mummified skulls from the Late Period were destroyed when protesters set the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), near Cairo's Egyptian Museum, on fire.
Hawass also announced that the tomb of Hetep-ka at Saqqara, the tomb of Petah-Shepses at Abu Sir and the tomb of Em-pi at Giza had been damaged and some storage magazines had been attacked and several items looted.
Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities released the complete list of artifacts that went missing from the Egyptian Museum during the uprising.
Released on March 15, 2011, the list contains 63 items including ritual statues and a fan belonging to King Tut, Yuya's shabtis, amulets and jewelry.
The most important missing piece from the Egyptian Museum might be a limestone statue of Akhenaton holding an offering table.
The two-storey museum houses tens of thousands of historical objects in its galleries and storerooms, including most of the King Tutankhamen collection.
Hawass' appointment might provoke the Egyptian opposition who has asked for the cabinet to omit all elements from the old regime.
UNESCO said on March 28, 2011 that it would write to Egyptian authorities to officially ask for more protection for the African country's archaeological sites.