Monday, May 23, 2011

The removal of a modern cemetery built above the oldest capital in the world (Zahi Hawass)

I will never forget what I saw when I went to Saqqara before I became Minister of Antiquities for the second time. During the Revolution, people built over five hundred tombs (a modern cemetery) above sites near the pyramids of Pepi I, Pepi II, and Djedkare Isesi. I found out that the people who live nearby also built a mosque on the causeway of the pyramid of Djedkare Isesi.

There was more destruction at Mit Rahina (ancient Memphis), where large cemeteries were built. Local people also built large cemeteries at Abusir, Lisht, the West Bank of Luxor, and many other sites all over Egypt. I was very upset by the attacks on the sites, and I could not sit by and watch them be destroyed like this. I even had dreams about these sites, and I hoped very much that we would be able to undo all of the damage.

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