Damages of the Revolution

After the revolutionary events, the conservation department of the Egyptian Museum continues its work of recovering the pieces damaged by vandals on the night of 28th January 2011. For those who have worked for years photographing these extraordinary objects, it was truly painful to observe the extent of the damage caused without apparent reasons except to cause more damage as possible in the building. Meanwhile, some of the objects that disappeared during that famous night have been found, in a more or less adventurous way, as selling them would have been particularly dangerous and complicated affair.

Unfortunately, the damage to the Egyptian cultural heritage is not limited to the Egyptian Museum. The period of anarchy that  followed the most violent days of the revolution have left behind a long-lasting damage, most of which caused by improvised tomb raiders who went digging in broad daylight in archaeological area, without any authority or police supervision.

However, the attempts to expand the cemeteries of the villages located close to the pharaonic necropolis deserve a chapter alone.  In Egypt, demographic pressure is also manifested in the lack of useful land for burials. Many villages are nestled between the increasingly scarce arable land, and what in the eyes of ignorant peasants is only desert, although in the reality they are archaeological sites of great importance, not yet excavated.

For the Muslim religion, the body is untouchable and can not be cremated, so boundless cemeteries grow out of sight on the suburbs of the cities. Coming out of Cairo, on the road to Fayoum, you can see endless stretches of tombs that according to tradition, are distinct for each family and built bigger or smaller  depending on the possibilities.

Even in the villages along the Nile, between the river and the archaeological sites of Giza, Abu Sir, Saqqara and Dashur, nobody has been able to resist the temptation: in a few nights hundreds of tombs were raised on public land, new colourful background of the necropolis pyramids. Now it is up to the army to demolish them and restore the land, with the risk of damaging the ancient necropolis below…