Posted on June 9, 2023

Egypt Bans Dutch Archaeology Team From Saqqara Due to Museum’s ‘Afrocentric’ Exhibition

Nadeen Ebrahim, CNN, June 7, 2023

A team of archaeologists from a Dutch museum has been banned from carrying out excavations in Egypt’s rich Saqqara necropolis, after the museum mounted an exhibition that drew condemnation from Egyptian authorities.

After the opening of “Kemet: Egypt in Hip Hop, Jazz, Soul & Funk,” the National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) in Leiden received an email from the head of foreign missions of the Egyptian Antiquities Service saying that the museum is “falsifying history” with its “Afrocentric” approach, Dutch newspaper NRC reported on Monday.

Wim Weijland, the museum’s managing director, confirmed to CNN via email that the Egyptian authorities have denied the institution a permit for the next excavation season at Saqqara. {snip}


Weijland went on to say that the aim of the “Kemet” exhibition is “to show and understand the depiction of ancient Egypt and the messages in music by black artists” {snip}

Nubia is an ancient region in northeast Africa that extends from the Nile River valley in Egypt, all the way down to Khartoum in modern-day Sudan. The area was once home to the Nubian Kingdom of Kush, or the “Black Pharaohs.”

According to its web page, the exhibition, which opened in April and runs until September 3, “embarks on a journey through music history” and looks at “the influence of ancient Egypt and Nubia…in the works of a multitude of musicians of African descent, including icons of jazz such as Miles Davis and Sun Ra and contemporary artists such as Beyoncé and Rihanna.”

In recent days, the museum’s social media posts about the exhibition were flooded with comments, mostly by Egyptians who deemed it disrespectful. Some commented with photos showing light-skinned ancient Egyptian drawings, next to ones with darker skin tones, which they say the museum is propagating.