‘Real Indiana Jones’ sacked as keeper of Egypt’s heritage

He called himself the real Indiana Jones and keeper of Egypt’s heritage, and was an almost permanent presence on any television programme about the country’s colourful past.

But Zahi Hawass, the public face of the pyramids, has become the latest casualty of the revolution sweeping the Egyptian government after being sacked as minister of antiquities.

Dr Hawass was head of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities for 10 years, and before that in charge of the Pyramids and Sphinx on the Giza plateau outside Cairo. He staged regular press conferences unveiling new discoveries from the time of the pharaohs.

In honour of his claim that the film producer George Lucas consulted him before creating the character of Indiana Jones, played by Harrison Ford in films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, he was rarely seen without a large fedora hat.

But after being made minister of antiquities in one of Hosni Mubarak’s last acts as president, he has been sacked to appease growing hostility from anti-government protesters, not least archaeologists fed up with his style of management.

Social networking sites like Twitter were flooded with inevitable jokes, from “the Curse of the Mummy strikes” to comments such as “Zahi Hawass to no longer appear in every single TV special on Egypt”. Some were simpler, saying, “Please take your hat with you.”

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