Egypt Expels Dutch Archeologists For "Afrocentric" Exhibit

Memphis, Egypt - The oldest standing step pyramid in Egypt, designed by Imhotep for King Djoser, located in Saqqara, an ancient burial ground at 30 km south of modern-day Cairo.

Image via Getty

Egypt Expels Dutch Archeologists For "Afrocentric" Exhibit

The North African nation is unimpressed with the group's desire to "falsify history" by exploring the country's influence on Black musicians.

Authorities have banned a team of Dutch archeologists from continuing their excavation activities in the country's abundant Saqqara Necropolis.

On Monday, Holland's National Museum of Antiquities received an email from the head of foreign missions of the Egyptian Antiquities Service stating that the museum's "Kemet: Egypt in Hip-Hop, Jazz, Soul & Funk" exhibition is "falsifying history" with it's "Afrocentric" approach. Their punishment? The team, who has been working in Egypt's historical tombs since 1975, will no longer be granted access to the historical burial site.

The Dutch museum's managing director Wim Weijland said to CNN, "The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden has been working at Saqqara since 1975. For the upcoming season, the museum has been denied the permit to excavate here.” According to Weijland, the intention of the exhibition is, "to show and understand the depiction of ancient Egypt and the messages in music by Black artists ... [and to] show what scientific, Egyptological research can tell us about ancient Egypt and Nubia." The museums's website states the exhibition looks to examine, "the influence of ancient Egypt and Nubia…in the works of a multitude of musicians of African descent, including icons of jazz such as Miles Davis and Sun Ra and contemporary artists such as Beyoncé and Rihanna."

The museum's social media posts regarding the exhibit have been inundated with irate Egyptians crying offense and disrespect. In response, the Leiden, Netherlands-based museum has added a note on its site with more context, and its goals. According to Weijland, the museum is attempting to "open the dialogue" with Egyptian authorities to try to reconcile the hiccup. Earlier this year, an Egyptian lawyer attempted to ban Netflix in the country after their original series "Queen Cleopatra" featured a Black actress. The controversy surrounding the ruler's ethnicity has long littered her legacy, as some Egyptians believe that referring to her as Black or African is erasing her true history.

A necropolis is a large, elaborate cemetery with intricately designed tomb monuments. Saqqara Necropolis is located in the city of Memphis, 40 km from the capital Cairo, and is one of Egypt's most important cemeteries, as leaders from the country's first two dynasties are buried there. The world's oldest stone building complex, the Pyramid of Djoser, is located there and adds to the site's importance to Egyptian history.