Dutch Archaeologists Banned From Saqqara Over Exhibition Linking Afrocentrism To Ancient Egypt

A team of archaeologists from a Dutch museum has been banned from carrying out excavations in Egypt’s Saqqara necropolis over an exhibition seeking to explore the influence of ancient Egypt on black culture and music. After the opening of the exhibition, The National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden stated that Egyptian authorities had accused it of “falsifying” history. The exhibition showcased works by artists including Beyoncé, Nas and Rihanna.

The exhibition at the National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) – entitled Kemet: Egypt in Hip Hop, Jazz, Soul & Funk, aims to demonstrate how “Ancient Egyptian Ancient Egypt and Nubia have been an undeniable source of inspiration for musicians of African descent for over 70 years, with artists not only embracing and claiming these ancient African cultures.” The museum’s managing director, Wim Weijland, confirmed to a source by email that the Egyptian authorities have denied the institution a permit for further excavation at Saqqara necropolis. 

The RMO said in a statement on Wednesday that it was disappointed to be informed in a recent email from a senior Egyptian antiquities official that it was no longer permitted to excavate at the Saqqara necropolis near Cairo after almost 50 years of work there. “The Egyptian authorities have every right to terminate a permit for an excavation; after all, it is their land and their heritage. However, the museum considers the underlying argument for this decision incorrect.”

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