Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Giza men arrested after digging up ancient temple under house

This is quite an intriguing story:
Seven residents of a Giza district have been arrested after they illegally excavated the area beneath their home and found the remains of an ancient Egyptian temple. The huge limestone blocks, engraved with hieroglyphic texts, date from the reign of the New Kingdom's King Tuthmose III, and were found in the Hod Zeleikha area of Al-Badrasheen district. [...] The find was made two weeks ago, [...] A unit from the tourism and antiquities police heard of the illegal excavation work and arrested the seven men – two of whom are Palestinian [...] The police also found diving costumes, oxygen cylinders and diving masks with the detainees.
It seems some of the recovered remains came from "nine metres below ground water levels". So this is not exactly the work of desperately poor subsistence diggers, but organized looting profiting from the ability to turned ancient sculpted stone into cash no questions asked on the antiquities market. Presumably some form of shoring must have been used to stop immediate collapse of the house - also of course the removal of tonnes of earth from under a single building would have tended to attract the attention of the neighbours....

Nevine El-Aref, 'Giza men arrested after digging up ancient temple under house, Al Ahram Wednesday 29 Oct 2014.

Vignette: What the neighbours were afraid might happen.


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