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Two German archaeologists, and the institutions they were working with, have been punished for allegedly stealing samples of Pharaoh Khufu’s cartouche from the Great Pyramid. But perhaps just as controversial is another aspect of the pair’s work, which I’ve bolded in the extract from Al Ahram below:

Egypt’s ministry of antiquities has decided to impose penalties on two German amateur archaeologists who stole samples of King Khufu’s cartouche from a small compartment above his burial chamber in the great pyramid.

During a meeting Sunday, the Permanent Committee of the Ministry of the State of Antiquities (MSA) condemned such action and described it as a great violation of Egypt’s ancient heritage, and the great pyramid in particular – the only surviving monument of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Section at the MSA, Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, told Ahram Online that the committee has prohibited any archaeological cooperation between the MSA and Dresden University, who supported the work of the German archaeologists, as well as the scientific laboratory where the stolen and smuggled samples were analysed.

The findings of both archaeologists have been rejected, as they were carried out by amateurs not expert archaeologists, Maqsoud asserted.

The results cast doubt on the construction date of the great pyramid and consequently the pharaoh for which it was built. The results suggest that the pyramid was built in an era proceeding [sic] Khufu’s reign.

“This is totally false and nonsensical,” said Ahmed Saeed, professor of ancient Egyptian civilisation at Cairo University. He explains that accurate scientific research dates the cartouche within an era after the reign of Khufu.

While I certainly don’t condone damage or theft from one of the greatest monuments on the planet, the news has a bit of a Gantenbrink vibe to it doesn’t it?