Treasures pulled from a briny tomb (Egypt/Germany)





BERLIN -- Spectacular artifacts from two lost cities of ancient Egypt, rescued from the sea after more than 1,300 years, have taken the breath away from more than 1 million visitors to the Martin-Gropius Building in Berlin. They have even ignited religious debate -- nonviolent so far -- in Egypt.
French archaeological adventurer Franck Goddio and his team of divers, armed with robotic equipment, swim masks and flippers, pulled the treasures from the depths at the ancient Egyptian harbor of Alexandria and the two lost neighboring cities of Herakleion and Canopus in 1999 and 2000.
Presidents Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Horst Kohler of Germany attended the opening of the Berlin exhibition in mid-May, evidence of its importance to both countries. But some Egyptians are not happy about it.
Sheik Ali Gomaa, the grand mufti of Egypt, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, saying statuary in the human form is forbidden in Egyptian homes. He didn't specifically include museums in the fatwa, but cited an Islamic text that "sculptors would be tormented most on Judgment Day."


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