Amid protests and looting, officials work to preserve Egypt's treasures

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Archaeologists expressed deep concern on Sunday that many of Egypt's historical treasures were threatened by looters in the wake of the nation's uprising, while Egypt's top antiquities official said that all 24 national museums were now under protection of the Army and that damage to the main Cairo museum that shelters thousands of priceless artifacts appeared limited.

Officials in Egypt and American Egyptologists said they were worried, however, about reports of ongoing looting at Saqqara, a famous site south of Cairo that is home to Egypt's first stone pyramid and hundreds of tombs spanning three thousand years of the country's deep cultural history.

While deep concern - or even panic - continues to sweep through the community Egyptologists in the United States, Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council on Antiquities, said Sunday that, "Nothing is stolen from the Cairo museum." He is now directing a team to assess the damage at Saqqara and other outlying sites where archaeological digs are ongoing.

Speaking via cell phone from Cairo, Hawass said that a few items were broken - including a statue of King Tutankhamun riding a jaguar - after looters smashed windows on the roof of the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities and descended into the building with ropes Friday night. He added that all of the broken artifacts could be restored....

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