Anyone know of archeologists reading the tea leaves on the implications for Zahi Hawass being made a cabinet minister in Egypt? Hawass is the telegenic spokesman for Egypt’s rich trove of antiquities, regularly featuring in TV shows about mummies and pyramids, and undoubtedly helping keep tourists flowing to Egypt (tourism is the major national industry).
In the political shakeup over the weekend, Mubarak used his nominal political power to create a new cabinet position for Hawass: Minister of Antiquities.
On one hand, I’d think archaeologists would be glad to see their field getting such political representation. On the other hand, I don’t gather that Hawass is especially popular with academics in the field, and I can’t imagine any of Mubarak’s cabinet ministers retaining much political influence when the revolution reaches its conclusion. Some may be allowed to stay in the country, but can anyone imagine them keeping their posts?
So the bleg: why would Hawass agree to tie his reputation to Mubarak’s, and what implications do people forsee this having for Egyptian archaeology generally and Hawass specifically when a new regime arrives?