Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Armed Gangs Invade Egypt's Al-Hammam Archaeological Site

Armed gang invade Egypt's Al-Hammam archaeological site

Nevine El-Aref, Monday 13 Jan 2014

An armed gang has, for the second time, encroached on Al-Hammam archaeological site on the Alexandria-Matrouh Highway; antiquities police summoned to face perpetrators

The Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) has summoned the Tourism and Antiquities Police to face an armed gang which invaded the archaeological site of Al-Hammam, located on the Alexandria-Matrouh Highway.

MSA minister Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online on Sunday the gang had marched into the excavation area with machine guns.

The site comprises remains of a Graeco-Roman fortress, roads, temples and cemeteries while the excavation area includes remains of a Graeco-Roman bath, a channel for drainage water and huge limestone blocks.

The Tourism and Antiquities Police headed to the location to face the perpetrators and inspect the site to determine whether any items had been stolen.

This marks the second encroachment on Al-Hammam site, Ibrahim said, adding that the first saw a large truck invade the premises in March along with a construction bulldozer which, in turn, damaged a cluster of authentic structures dating back to the Graeco-Roman era.

Egypt seizes hoard of antiquities

Reuters, Tuesday 7 Jan 2014

Security forces seize over 1,500 stolen antiquities in Cairo suburb of Zawiyat Abu Musallem

The Egyptian police have seized a hoard of more than 1,500 illegally excavated ancient artefacts, the Antiquities Ministry said.

The antiquities seized during a raid on a house in Zawiyat Abu Musallem, a Cairo suburb, on Monday included ancient statues, amulets and limestone false doors of the type commonly built in ancient Egyptian tombs as a threshold to the afterlife.

Turmoil in Egypt since the downfall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011 has allowed for increased antiquities theft and illegal digging: in August, thieves broke into a museum in southern Egypt, making off with more than 1,000 artefacts.

In a statement issued late on Monday, Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said the 1,524 artefacts were of important archaeological value and spanned different eras of ancient Egyptian civilisation.

"The variety of the seized antiquities indicates that they are the result of illegal digging by armed gangs," Ibrahim said.

Ammunition found in the possession of a suspect underscored "the danger of these organised gains that carry out digs in secret and trade illegally in Egyptian antiquities", he said.

No comments: