Certain Infamy in Egyptology and Museology

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Edmond Robert Mansoor


First, I'd like to tell the reader that I have consulted with no one for this August 1999 writing. If anyone and/or any institution do not agree with what I am saying, they should speak up and deal with me as, all throughout, my comments are solely my own honest opinion -- which is based on facts, scientific evidence, common sense, and the Exhibits I am producing. The Exhibits are facsimiles of documents you'll find at the end of my writing.

If you, the reader, are interested in Egyptology and/or museology, arts and/or sciences, this true story, the Mansoor Amarna Collection/Controversy is definitely for you: It is a "must" for you to read. If, on the other hand, you are only interested in an incredible but "fascinating" true story that started with an error of one man in "city hall," the BMFA, and swelled to become a distorted balloon filled with nonsense and absurdities emitted by some incompetent, misled, or intellectually dishonest minds, then the story should also be of great interest to you.

The Story in Brief

In 1947, sculptures from the Mansoor Amarna Collection dating back to the Pharaonic Period of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, circa 1350 B.C., were given to the BMFA for scientific examination. Their expert, Mr. William J. Young, young at the time, inexperienced and, I think, totally incompetent to examine Egyptian limestone objects, examined unscientifically the sculptures and declared them to be of "fairly modern origin." A curator at the BM, Dr. John D. Cooney, impressed by the BMFA's report, endorsed it. And when "approached by many collectors and museums at various times," he has "always had to give an unfavorable opinion" on the Mansoor Amarna Collection. Always. For your information, according to Dr. Cooney, Mr. Young was "the best authority in this country on technical problems connected with works of art..." and it is "very unwise to ignore his advice."

Another curator, succeeding Dr. Cooney at the BM, Dr. Bernard V. Bothmer, who was for years a colleague of Mr. Young when he was attached to the BMFA, was also misled by the museum's report and thought that the Mansoor Amarna sculptures were not ancient. Furthermore, he could have never, ever contradicted a colleague of the same institution particularly that this institution, the BMFA, claiming to be "one of the great museums of the world," stated the following: "Art and science must co-exist in today's museum. Science can derive essential scholarly data from mute objects and conserve or restore priceless works. The art of the forger is so sophisticated that only the most rigorous application of science can prove him false." This "only" clearly means that scientific evidence should prevail in evaluating artifacts. Consequently, it should also, and must prevail over the personal opinion of Dr. Bothmer. In other words, in the interest of the BMFA, the "scientific evidence" or "scientific opinion" of Mr. William J. Young must prevail over Dr. Bothmer's personal opinion.

From the early fifties on, rumors, absurdities and irresponsible personal opinions went rampant so violently that nowadays, some so-called "scholars" state erroneously and/or arrogantly that the Collection is not ancient. And most do so without seeing one single piece of it. Even though, as you'll read later, many eminent Egyptologists, who examined and handled the Mansoor sculptures "in the flesh" declared them to be ancient and genuine, and that too many accredited scientists from leading world institutions stated same in real scientific terms (some of them criticizing in harsh terms the BMFA's report), the Controversy on the Mansoor Amarna Collection has become a monstrous one -- results from calamities I'll enumerate soon.




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