Friday 25 July 2014

Egypt’s Heritage Crisis

David Tresilian
The looting of Egypt’s cultural heritage is reaching epidemic proportions with even some major sites now not left untouched, writes David Tresilian from Paris ('Egypt’s heritage crisis', Al-Ahram Weekly Issue No.1207, 24 July, 2014).
the true extent of the threat to Egypt’s heritage has perhaps lain elsewhere in the illicit excavation of archaeological sites outside the capital and illegal encroachment on them. The illicit excavation of archaeological sites, carried out in the hope of finding antiquities that can then be smuggled out of the country for sale abroad, has been going on for centuries, but there has been a huge increase in such activities since 2011. When the problem of illegal encroachment on archaeological sites and opportunistic thefts from even urban sites and monuments is added to the rise in cases of illicit excavation, the true extent of the crisis emerges. [...] some observers have begun to speak of a heritage crisis affecting Egypt, one which could wreak lasting damage on the country’s cultural sites and institutions. 
Interviews with Salima Ikram, Monica Hanna and Deborah Lehr. What a strange and repetitive text this is, however. It looks like bits of it were written a couple of years ago and put in a drawer.

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