Egypt has banned a team of archaeologists from the National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) in Leiden, Netherlands, from conducting excavations at the Saqqara necropolis, one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. The reason for this decision is the museum’s current exhibition, “Kemet: Egypt in Hip Hop, Jazz, Soul & Funk”, which explores the influence of ancient Egypt and Nubia on black music and culture.
The exhibition, which opened in April and runs until September 3, features photographs and music videos of artists such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Nas, Sun Ra, Nina Simone and Fela Kuti, who have used ancient Egyptian and Nubian motifs and symbols in their work. The exhibition also examines the scientific and historical evidence about ancient Egypt and Nubia, and how they have been studied from different perspectives.
According to the museum’s director, Wim Weijland, the Egyptian authorities accused the exhibition of “falsifying history” with its “Afrocentric” approach, and denied the museum a permit for the next excavation season at Saqqara. The museum has been working at Saqqara for more than 40 years, and has made significant discoveries there, such as a tomb of a high-ranking official named Maya, who served under King Tutankhamun.
Weijland said that the museum was trying to open a dialogue with the Egyptian authorities about the matter, and that the aim of the exhibition was to show and understand the depiction of ancient Egypt and the messages in music by black artists. He also said that the museum had received comments via social media that were “racist or offensive in nature” since the exhibition opened.
Did Egypt Falsify History To Disconnect Itself From Black People?
The ban comes amid a controversy over a new Netflix docudrama series depicting Queen Cleopatra as a black African. The Egyptian antiquities ministry condemned the series as a “falsification of history”, and insisted that Cleopatra had “Hellenistic (Greek) features”, including “light skin”.
The dispute reflects a long-standing debate over the racial identity and origins of ancient Egyptians and Nubians. Some scholars have argued that ancient Egyptians were black Africans, while others have maintained that they were more closely related to Mediterranean or Middle Eastern peoples. Some have also suggested that ancient Egyptians were a diverse population that included people of different ethnicities and skin colors.
The debate has also been influenced by political and ideological factors, such as nationalism, colonialism and racism. Some Afrocentric scholars have claimed that ancient Egypt was the source of civilization and culture for Africa and the world, while some Eurocentric scholars have dismissed or downplayed the achievements and contributions of ancient Africans.
The debate has also attracted conspiracy theorists who believe that Egypt is hiding or falsifying its history to cover up its connection to sub-Saharan Africans. Some conspiracy theorists have accused Egypt of being racist and brainwashed by white supremacy, and have suggested that the ban on the Dutch archaeology team is proof of this.
Some conspiracy theorists believe that if Egypt discovered new evidence showing it has a direct connection to black people, they would hide it before the public finds out. Could they be on to something?