Sunday, November 28, 2010

Faiyum protectorate not protected

Al Masry Al Youm

Thanks very much to Ben's Egypt Then and Now website for pointing to the above article, which I had missed. It is very topical given the new fieldwork taking place in the Faiyum Depression, but this has been an ongoing problem for several years now.

Fayoum's Lake Qarun protectorate is one of Egypt’s richest and most treasured natural landmarks. It is also on the brink of destruction.

Lake Qarun received its protectorate status, not only because of its obvious beauty and importance for birds and people, but also for its unparalleled historical, natural and scientific importance.

The northern side of Lake Qarun, around Gebal Qatrani, hosts one of the world’s most complete fossil records of terrestrial primates and marshland mammals, critical to our understanding of human evolution. Discoveries continue to be made and studied by scientists.

UNESCO is currently considering this area as a World Heritage site. Until now only three percent of the area has been excavated. Last year the excavations uncovered a complete fossil of a prehistoric whale species. This has not been found elsewhere in the world.

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