Thursday, March 19, 2009

Neolithic archaeology under threat in Egypt

Following on from my recent posts about the threat to the prehistoric archaeology of the Faiyum Depression it is very sad to hear from Josef Eiwanger, the excavator of the related site Merimde Beni Salama in the 1980s, that in spite of it having been declared an Antiquities area, most of the site has been cultivated over the last 25 years.

Josef Eiwanger (German Institute in Cairo) was responding to a request by Mrs. Ungureanu on the Egyptologist Electronic Forum.

Merimde and several Faiyum sites provide the earliest evidence of mixed farming in Egypt. They are therefore of fundamental importance to the understanding of the development of Egyptian civilization, which was based on the agricultural components that were employed and developed at that time.

It is sad to see so much disrespect for the earliest evidence of Egypt's development within Egypt itself.

I was once told that Zahi Hawass had a home on the edge of the site. My informer must have been wrong about that because I am sure that he would not have watched the site's destruction without intervening.


Anonymous said...

Dear Andie
A happy birthday and did you get the photos that I sent youof Merimida as it looks today? I also have news of several breaking attempts at magazines in the Delta including the ones at Buto and Mendes.

Anonymous said...

Zahi Hawass protect a site?? Zahi Hawass actively allows and encourages the destruction of sites though his policies (Luxor and the Theban west bank are testimony to that!). The man needed to removed from office long ago, but I fear it will be even worse once he retires.