Until the middle of the nineteenth century, there was no legislation concerning the antiquities trade in Egypt. There were thousands of artifacts from jewelry, statues, engravings and even entire monuments that had been removed from their original environment to join private collections or collections of museums around the world. The Western passion for Egyptian antiquities began with the advent of the French Campaign (1798-1801) and the publication of successive volumes of the book "Describing Egypt" which created global interest in Egypt and its ancient monuments. br>
The first step to limit the removal of Egyptian antiquities outside the country took place on August 15, 1835, when the ruler of Egypt, Mohamed Ali Pasha, issued a decree prohibiting the export and trade of all Egyptian antiquities. This decree also included the construction of a building in the Azbekiya Park in Cairo Archaeology. Unfortunately, these antiquities were usually given by Egypt's rulers to European dignitaries as gifts, and by the mid-nineteenth century the collection of artifacts had diminished until they were moved to a small hall in the castle. In 1855, when Austrian Archbishop Maximilian (a member of the royal family in Austria) visited this hall in Cairo, he was impressed by the archaeological collection and was presented to him by the governor of Egypt, Abbas Pasha, and transferred to Vienna.
In the year 1858, Said Pasha approved the establishment of the Antiquities Authority, which was then called the "Department of Antiquities" to reduce the continuity of prohibited trade in the Egyptian antiquities, and was appointed French scientist August Mariette as the first director of that interest. This government interest was responsible for setting up excavations and approving and supervising foreign archaeological missions. With the approval of Khedive Ismail, Mariette established the first national museum in the Middle East and was inaugurated in 1863 in a temporary government building in Bulaq (Antakkhana). Br>
For nearly a century, the Department of Archeology was headed by French scientists. In 1956, with the evacuation of the British occupying forces, the Antiquities Authority became a purely Egyptian governmental body. The first Egyptian director was Mr. Mustafa Amer, who took office in 1953 and continued for about 3 years. The Antiquities Authority followed the Ministries of Public Works, Education and National Guidance in order, and in 1960 its subordination was transferred to the Ministry of Culture. In 1971, during the presidency of Mr. Gamal Mukhtar, the Antiquities Authority was transferred to the Egyptian Antiquities Authority. The name was then changed from the Egyptian Antiquities Authority to the Supreme Council of Antiquities in 1994 under the Presidential Decree No. 82 of 1994. Prof. Mohamed Abdel Halim Noureddine is the first secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. In 2011, the Supreme Council of Antiquities assumed its subordination to the Ministry of Culture and was transformed into an independent ministry in the government of His Excellency the former Prime Minister of Egypt, Mr. Ahmed Shafiq, and Dr. Zahi Hawass became the first minister of the Ministry of State for Antiquities. During the year 2015, the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs became the Ministry of Antiquities under the government of His Excellency the Prime Minister Eng. Sherif Ismail.