Archaeological ethics
Was the sale of the Egyptian statue for nothing?
Sekhemka sold but more funding needed for museum development project
  by Archaeology Newsroom - Friday, 11 July 2014
The Sekhemka statue’s sale marked "the blackest day in Northampton's cultural history", said Sue Edwards, a spokesperson for the Save Sekhemka Action Group, adding that Northampton had been "shamed across the world". (Photo: AP)

Was the sale of the Egyptian statue for nothing? According to a press release issued yesterday (July 10, 2014) by Northampton Borough Council (NBC): “The limestone statue of Sekhemka from the Northampton Museum & Art Gallery collection has been sold at auction by Christie’s of London for £15,762,500 (£14 million plus the buyer’s premium). Northampton Borough Council will retain around £8million (55 per cent of the proceeds), while the remainder will be remitted to Lord Northampton (around £6million).”

The sale was criticised by the Egyptian ambassador to Britain and opposed by Northampton citizens, while the risk of the Northampton Museum & Art Gallery losing accreditation status still exists. As for the purpose of the sale –funding the museum’s extension– it has not been fulfilled.

As David Gill (Looting Matters) explains: “NBC will be needing to attract some £6 million worth of funding.” For the additional funding NBC are expecting to look to the Heritage Lottery Fund to provide a large portion of the additional funding. “The Borough Council is in the process of developing a funding package to take the extension forward, including putting together a bid for support from the Heritage Lottery Fund”, the NBC press release tells us. However there is a great demand for these funds, and, as David Gill points out “the HLF panel have the potential of not looking too kindly on what has happened in Northampton (and especially against the advice of the Museums Association)”.

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