Egyptians grab ancient land of the pharaohs to bury their dead
2013-05-01 0:00

From: PastHorizons


In Manshiet Dahshur, 25 miles south of Cairo, the villagers recently extended the boundaries of the cemetery. For Ahmed Rageb, a carpenter who buried his cousin in the annexe, it was a logical decision. We want to bury the dead, he said, strolling through the new cemetery after visiting his cousins tomb. The old cemetery is full. And there is no other place to bury my family.

There is just one problem. The new tombs are perilously close to some of Egypts oldest: the pyramids of Dahshur, less famous than their larger cousins at Giza, but just as venerable. This is protected land, and no one is supposed to build here yet more than 1,000 illegal tombs have appeared in the desert since January.

What happened was crazy, said Mohamed Youssef, Dahshurs chief archaeologist. They came and took space for about 20 generations.

The tombs nestle in the dunes below the Red Pyramid, considered the pharaohs first successful attempt at a smooth-sided structure. To the south is the Bent Pyramid, named for its warped walls. In the east, nearer the Nile, lies the Black Pyramid a collapsed colossus on which the villagers are most in danger of encroaching. This is their right, claimed Reda Dabus, a clerk worshipping at the mosque next to the cemetery. All the people are born here, Dabus said. They died here. They should have the right to be buried here. Inhabitable land is hard to come by in Egypt, where 99% of the population live on 5.5% of the territory.

But it is an argument disputed by local archaeologists, who say there is something darker afoot: looting. Some of them have a real need for the tombs for their families, said Youssef, who said that the land had been designated as government property since the late 1970s. But when you have 1,000 people, some of them will want to do illegal excavation.

Others agree. They use the new tombs to hide what they are doing, explained Ramadan al-Qot, a site inspector who grew up in the village. Observers say the cemetery is the latest in a series of forbidden incursions that have markedly increased since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. More than 500 illegal excavations have taken place at Dahshur since 2011 an increase mirrored at sites all over the country.

Dahshur is just a single case study of whats happening on every archaeological site in Egypt, said Monica Hanna, who campaigns for greater resources to be allocated to Egypts ancient sites. Its happened all around the Nile valley, in El Hiba, in Beni Suef. Everywhere.

In the months following Mubaraks fall in spring 2011, Nigel Hetherington, a British archaeologist and film-maker, documented dozens of new illegal buildings on ancient sites between Cairo and Dahshur. They were openly building, Hetherington said. They had no fear of being filmed.

The situation is symptomatic of a deterioration in law and order since the fall of the Mubarak regime. Nationwide, the police, whose brutality was a major cause of the 2011 uprising, no longer had the inclination to patrol either the streets or sites such as Dahshur. After the revolution, said Youssef, the police would not do anything. This left the inspectors to fend for themselves.

Its very dangerous for us, said al-Qot, three of whose colleagues were hospitalised following a run-in with looters in December. The thieves hide behind the tombs and shoot at us.

The retreat of the state is just one explanation for the rise in looting and land grabs. Locals say it is also related to the way that the 2011 uprising prompted many ordinary Egyptians to shed some of their instinctive fear of authority. The situation changed because the people changed, said Youssef.

Thats the reason for the building: the revolution, agreed Abdo Diab, a carpenter who has built a tomb at Dahshur. All the people now, we are not afraid of the army or the police or any government.

If we want something, said Dabus, we do it.

At Dahshur, that is what has happened. In January, a dozen people who are said to have needed tombs for their relatives started building on restricted pyramid land. The sites inspectors reported it to the police but there was no response. No one demolished their tombs because the government is so weak, said Youssef. So the other people realised that there is no punishment.

[...]

Read the full article at: pasthorizonspr.com




Related Articles
Looters butcher church frescoes in Albania
Armed Robbers Loot Olympia Museum in greece
Bones and jars of the dead unearthed in 3,000-year-old Egyptian tombs
Egyptian Mummies as Commodities
Frustration as retrial of Egypts Mubarak aborted
Is Egypt planning to rent out the pyramids?
Violence flares on anniversary of Egypt uprising


Latest News from our Front Page

Better Identification of Viking Corpses Reveals: Half of the Warriors Were Female
2015-04-25 4:52
Shieldmaidens are not a myth! A recent archaeological discovery has shattered the stereotype of exclusively male Viking warriors sailing out to war while their long-suffering wives wait at home with baby Vikings. (We knew it! We always knew it.) Plus, some other findings are challenging that whole “rape and pillage” thing, too. Researchers at the University of Western Australia decided ...
Off Your Knees, Germany! Ernst Zundel 1983 - 2003
2015-04-25 1:15
For more information on the holocaust, how the war was forced upon Germany, and the REAL victims of the second world war see: http://gblt.webs.com/Real_Holocaust.htm http://web.archive.org/web/20130806074314/http://www.666blacksun.org/ http://www.zundelsite.org/
IRS Drops Attack For Six Years – No Evidence of Jurisdiction
2015-04-24 20:29
A big congrats to a friend I’ve been working with for several years, he stood up to the predators commonly called the “IRS” and they dropped their attack. Thanks also for providing me with the proof below. The criminals called the “IRS” initiated an attack claiming my friend was required to file six tax returns, or explain how he made ...
Into Eternity - Finland's 100,000 Year Massive Underground Spent Nuclear Fuel Program
2015-04-24 20:49
Into Eternity is a documentary about a deep geological repository for nuclear waste. The concept of long-term underground storage for radioactive waste has been explored since the 1950s. The inner part of the Russian doll-like storage canisters is to be composed of copper. Hence in the case of Onkalo it is tightly linked to experiments on copper corrosion in running ...
SPLC Accuses Oath Keepers of Inciting “Armed Confrontation” Over Sugar Pine Mine
2015-04-24 20:22
The Southern Poverty Law Center has accused Oath Keepers of inciting an armed confrontation with BLM authorities over the Sugar Pine Mine dispute in Oregon, despite the fact that the organization has explicitly stated that it is not promoting armed confrontation with the feds. In an article provocatively posted on the organization’s ‘Hatewatch’ section entitled Oath Keepers Descend Upon Oregon with ...
More News »