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Egypt Needs to Be a Better Steward of Its Past

June 25, 2005

Re "In Defense of King Tut," Commentary, June 20: Thomas Hoving talks about going into the Egyptian Museum in 1975 after-hours, alone, and given permission to open any case, even kissing Tut's gold mask. Zahi Hawass, Egypt's chief of antiquities, wants Egyptian treasures in foreign museums to be returned to Egypt.

Where were the alarms when the case was opened so that Hoving could kiss the mask? Where were the security guards who should have accompanied him? Has security gotten any better at the Egyptian Museum today? In 1994, I visited the tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypt and was appalled to see dust on the clear covering over the sarcophagus. Surely safer to leave these precious objects where they are until the Egyptians can be better stewards of their treasures.

Christine Gan

Pasadena

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