Monday, March 28, 2011

Tales from the Egyptian revolution

The Art Newspaper (Sarah Marei)

Scrambling in the glaring sun we lifted heavy wooden boxes laden with antiquities to safer locations at the site where hopefully they would be easier to protect at night. The director had his sleeves rolled up and, covered in dust, was booming spontaneous orders. The entire, hurried operation was guided by the levelheaded and reasonable decisions of the high-ranking officials responsible for the site now acting as patriotic Egyptians struggling to protect their history.

Giza, home to the Great Pyramids, had two storage facilities broken into in the wave of attacks on antiquities overtaking Egypt during the revolution. As the news broke I rushed to the site (where I am based as an antiquities inspector) to offer my help. I was not alone: many other inspectors and other employees had left the safety of their homes with the same thoughts.

Egypt is riddled with archaeological sites and many remained virtually unscathed due to the inspectors and residents of the surrounding towns and villages endangering their lives to protect sites, storage locations and museums, as was the case at Beni Suef and Fayum.

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