Sunday 15 July 2012

Egyptian Inscribed Lintel Looted from Heliopolis

A rectangular limestone block with an inscription from the era of Ramses II has been found at a residential home in the Hesn Al-Arab district in Matariya area in Cairo. The block has been reused, with a dowel hole in the carved face and is broken in two parts, the inscription is the conventional “King of Upper and Lower Egypt, the lord of both lands, Ramses II”. It seems to be part of the lintel over the false door of a tomb. The discovery was made after a man reported ongoing structural damage to his home and upon an inspection local government officials found that there was illicit excavation going on under the neighbouring house. It was this that was causing the damage to the complainant's property. Police were called in to search the house of the artefact hunters:
While searching, officers found the relief along with digging tools and geographical measuring equipment. The police confiscated the instruments and the relief and apprehended the home's owner. 
The Arab El-Hesen district is just north of the  Senusret I obelisk open-air museum of Heliopolis on the site of the temple of Re-Atum in Heliopolis near the modern Ain Shams district (now called Heliopolis). We remember US Lobboblogger Tompa's suggestion that Egyptians should be allowed to quarry artefacts from the archaeological sites under their houses, here we see a very good reason why (apart from the destruction of ancient stratigraphy) this should not be allowed. Let us hope Mr Tompa's neighbours take note and watch out for subsidence cracks in party walls.

Source: Nevine El-Aref, 'Ancient Egyptian limestone relief found at Cairo home' Al-Ahram online Saturday 14 Jul 2012

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