Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Hawass calls on military defend antiquities against 'encroachment by locals'

Following a visit to Abusir and Saqqara necropolises, Zahi Hawass, former Egyptian Minister of Antiquities, has called on Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of Army, to stop all encroachment on Egypt’s archaeological sites, which reached 500 encroachments during the past two months.

Hawass told Ahram Online that what shocked him the most during his visit to both necropolises was the damage inflicted on the archaeological sites by neighbouring inhabitants since Egypt’s January revolution.

At Saqqara, villagers are reported to have moved onto 15 acres next to the Pharaohs’ Tomb (Mastaba el Pharaoun) and the pyramids of Pepi I and II. “I am sure that this area contains archaeological remains dating to the Old Kingdom, over 4,000 years ago,” asserted Hawass. There, he said, people constructed a large cemetery with about 500 huge tombs, about 4m high and 6x5m wide.

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