Kate Taylor has also commented on the story ("Egyptian Antiquities Minister Returns Less Than a Month After Quitting", New York Times March 30, 2010).
His departure had left a power vacuum at the antiquities ministry, according to Christian Manhart, the chief of the museums and cultural objects section of Unesco, who led a delegation to Egypt last week. Mr. Manhart said he was not surprised that Mr. Hawass had been reinstated, only that it had happened so quickly.
Mr. Hawass, who has never been accused of being humble, said on Wednesday that he did not ask to come back, but that there was no one else who could do the job. “I cannot live without antiquities, and antiquities cannot live without me,” he said.
Top of the agenda will be the recovery of the outstanding looted items from the Cairo Museum and other archaeological stores in Egypt. However attention is likely to turn to negotiations for the return of Saqqara material from a Barcelona galerista, and the mummy mask from the St Louis Art Museum (SLAM).