Dutch archaeologists from the National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) in Leiden have been “banned from carrying out excavations in Egypt’s rich Saqqara necropolis,” a sacred burial site located approximately 20 miles from the capital city of Cairo, reports CNN.
This occurred after the RMO debuted their latest exhibition: “Kemet: Egypt in Hip-Hop, Jazz, Soul & Funk.” Via email, the chief of the Egyptian Antiquities Service’s foreign missions informed the Dutch archaeological team that they were no longer allowed to excavate at the site, which the museum has been doing on an annual basis for the past 50 years. “The most recent one occurred just months ago, between Feb. 19 and March 23,” according to CNN.
The RMO says Egyptian authorities accused them of “falsifying history” by showcasing “photographs and music videos showing how Beyoncé and Rihanna had both appeared as Queen Nefertiti; a modern sculpture of Nas based on the famous gold mask of King Tutankhamun; several of Sun Ra’s Egyptian-inspired costumes; and songs by artists ranging from Nina Simone and Fela Kuti to Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill,” writes BBC.
Wim Weijland, managing director of the RMO, said “The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden has been working at Saqqara since 1975,” continuing, “For the upcoming season, the museum has been denied the permit to excavate here.” Weijland did add that they are attempting to “open the dialogue” with authorities over the matter.
The Dutch museum said their goal for “Kemet” was “to show and understand the depiction of ancient Egypt and the messages in music by black artists,” in addition to “show[ing] what scientific, Egyptological research can tell us about ancient Egypt and Nubia.”
The “Kemet” exhibition opened in April and will end its run on September 3. Per the website, viewers will embark on an exploration of music history by displaying how “ancient Egypt is important to these artists and musicians and from which cultural and intellectual movements the music emerged.”
This isn’t the first time Egyptian governmental authorities have disagreed with “Blacker” interpretations of history—after Netflix cast a mixed race actress as Cleopatra, a media station owned by the Egyptian government stated it would produce their own documentary with a European actress with lighter skin to play the lead role.
Just last month, former Egyptian minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass said, “no one with even a little education could make a film showing Cleopatra as black.”