A massive fire ripped through Brazil's oldest museum on Sunday night, possibly destroying some 20 million artifacts.
The 200-year-old Museu Nacional (National Museum) housed natural history collections including fossils and indigenous artifacts found in Brazil as well as antiquities from Egypt and Greco-Roman times. A 12,000-year-old skeleton of a woman known as "Luzia", the oldest ever discovered in the Americas, was also part of the collections.
Luiz Duarte, a museum vice-director, told TV Globo: “It is an unbearable catastrophe. It is 200 years of this country’s heritage. It is 200 years of memory. It is 200 years of science. It is 200 years of culture, of education.”
A cause of the fire was not immediately known. Some critics blamed the government for not maintaining the museum.