Thursday, 6 June 2013

News on Looting of Antiquities from Egyptian Sites

Image via Daily News Egypt web-site

An article in Daily News Egypt by Monica Hanna and Salima Ikram which tells of the worrying looting of antiquities sites.  


"The looting of antiquities sites, both urban and rural, is continuing throughout Egypt, contributing to the dramatic loss of the country’s heritage. Unfortunately, with police and military presence at archaeological and urban sites still insufficient, there is no one to stop the looting.
The increase in looting is allied to the worsening economic situation in Egypt, coupled with the lack of security. People still think that pharaonic sites are filled with gold and treasures, just waiting to be dug up, so now, with no one to stop them, more people are looking for the nearest place where they can go dig for gold, then other artefacts that they can sell for immediate revenue.
This idea that gold is readily available is an old and mistaken one; few pharaonic era tombs had a lot of gold, and most of those had been robbed at least 200 years ago, if not longer.
Recently, sites in Beni Suef in particular have suffered acutely from looters; in fact, if one asks to rent a car to go to Beni Suef, the drivers casually ask, “Oh, you are going to buy antiquities. I know someone who can help you,” as we know from personal experience. Abu Sir Al-Maleq is now considered the best place to buy “coloured sarcophagi”. 
In most of the public cafés in the city centre, and particularly in Al-Wasta, antiquities dealing is a common daily practice. All one has to do is to sit in a café, look like a stranger and wait to be approached by someone who has artefacts for sale. Much of this material is probably coming from two important sites in the area, namely Al-Hiba and Abu Sir Al-Maleq."- Daily News Egypt
To read the full article see  Looting Egypt: Abu Sir Al-Maleq

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