Category Archives: El Hibeh

El Hibeh – new photos

As promised – some new, and distressing, images of El Hibeh.

El Hibeh site plan

El Hibeh site plan

Looted mummy remains at El Hibeh

Looted mummy remains at El Hibeh

Coptic Cemetery. Looting at eastern end.

Coptic Cemetery. Looting at eastern end.

El Hibeh looted tomb

North Cemetery. Looted tomb. Note stone sarcophagus at bottom of hole and ancient matting in foreground.

El Hibeh Looted mummy

North Cemetery. Ms. Amal Farag of the Beni Suef Taftish on left viewing looted mummy.

More photos to come tomorrow… action still needs to be taken… please check earlier posts to see what you can do to help.

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El Hibeh update 22 March

Dr Carol Redmount of the Hibeh Excavation Team has spent some more time at the site:

I am very pleased to report that we have just finished six days of work studying pottery and objects from our previous excavations in Hibeh. It’s an hour and fifteen minutes commute each way, but we are so happy to be working at all. We thank the SCA and especially Mme. Nadia Ashour, Director of the Beni Suef Taftish and Mr. Atef Helmy, who is in charge of the SCA Ihnasya storehouse and who has most generously permitted us to work in his office. The long commute makes for long days and I am usually exhausted by the time we reach our dig house, and so I am behind on all my correspondence. Friday is my day to catch up. And I am very, very happy to be working.

I am delighted to report that Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Ayedi, Mme. Nadia’s boss and a very high official in the SCA who is in charge of all of Upper Egypt (I will post his exact title shortly, I want to make sure I have it correctly), visited us on a tour of inspection of looting of Upper Egyptian sites. He came to us at the Ihnasya Storehouse accompanied by Mme. Nadia Ashour, Director of the Beni Suef Inspectorate and several other SCA members of the taftish. We had a very productive conversation at Ihnasya, and he told me that the issues of looting sites and protecting Egypt’s cultural heritage, including Hibeh, had already been discussed in parliament and would be discussed again. This was wonderful news. He then also generously gave permission for our whole team to visit the site as part of his tour of inspection. We were thrilled as so far I was the only one who had been able to see Hibeh. Our next stop was the Spanish mission at Ihnasya el Medinah, where I was able to meet Carmen Perez Die for the first time (she usually works in the fall and we usually work in the summer), an unexpected pleasure. She graciously showed us around the site in general and her current work, and pointed out several looting holes, one very deep, 6 meters or more, and other damage to the site after the revolution. I later heard there were 54 looting holes on the site. Our next visit was to Hibeh, a little over an hour’s drive.

We arrived at Hibeh where our delegation, headed by Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Ayedi, whom we cannot thank enough for permitting our team to accompany his site inspection visit with members of the Beni Suef taftish and to take photographs. We were met by a number of Beni Suef security officials. We began our inspection from the north, beginning with the two cemeteries, the larger one Graeco Roman (probably Ptolemaic through Late Roman eras; the Late Roman mummies may be Coptic), the smaller one, where we had worked in 2009 and 2006, almost certainly non-elite Coptic. The mummy featured in the newspaper article was still there, and the plundered tomb with the gorgeous uraeus frieze was still visible. The thieves or their accomplices seem to have made some effort to cover up some of their handiwork, as I discovered when I compared pictures from July with those taken on our first visit with Mme. Nadia earlier this week. Bones and mummy cloth are still scattered all over, along with sad remnants of the desecrated bodies–tufts of human hair, a small braid, a pair of toes, matting, jaw bones, skull bones, every type of bones. It was horrible. Everyone was shocked. We next moved through the North Gate into the city mound itself. Immediately holes are visible everywhere. Some of these holes are many meters (8 or more at a guestimate) deep. As we proceeded through the site there was evidence of looting everywhere. Several vaulted tombs had been opened and emptied. Other structures had been dug up. Every single excavation area where we had worked since our first season in 2001 had at least one looting hole in it. At the southern end of the site it was clear that a number of areas had been badly disturbed and then filled in again. Wheelbarrow marks going in two directions could be traced in the dirt. My team and I accompanied the larger delegation for much of the visit and had photographs taken in solidarity with our Egyptian colleagues. We also raced over the site taking as many pictures as we could for scientific purposes. We must document how things have changed from our last season of excavation so that if and when, god willing, we are able to return to our work at the site we will have some idea of how to proceed. Dr. Ayedi made a thorough inspection and even proceeded to the cemetery east of the town mound (tell) to see the looting of burials there. All of us, Egyptians, Americans and Canadians, were appalled by the devastation at Hibeh. There is not a single area of the site that has not been violated. One of my Ph.D. students also told me that she saw a man on a motorcycle come over the hill while we were at the site; he took one look at the people on the tell and turned around immediately and fled.

We wish to express all our thanks and gratitude to Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Ayedi of the SCA for visiting and inspecting the site, for permitting us to come with him on his inspection. We are especially grateful for his permission to take photographs and for his permission to return to visit the site to try and reclaim as much scientific data from the looting as possible in the time remaining to us for our work. Mme. Nadia has made an official report on the condition of the site and is doing and has done her best in the past to get the site protected. Hibeh’s situation is especially problematic because of the criminal organization headquarted in the village just north of the tell that is coordinating the massive looting and violation of the tell. While we are making great progress, and the SCA is doing and has done its best to try and ensure the protection of Hibeh, the site remains unprotected. We are doing our best to help the SCA and our Egyptian colleagues win its struggle to achieve protection for the site. With your help we are making a difference, and I thank everyone, Egyptians and foreigners, from the bottom of my heart, for all your support in our struggle. Without adequate security, the looting will continue day and night. I cry for Hibeh. And for all other sites like it in Egypt.

We wish to say especially that we stand in solidarity with and are ready to help in any way we can all of our Egyptian colleagues at the SCA, all of the Egyptians who have joined this facebook site, and all Egyptians everywhere who care about and work for the preservation of their heritage. We also recognize the wonderful and important contributions of all those non-Egyptians who care so much about protecting the cultural heritage of Egypt and who have worked tirelessly with us and with our Egyptian colleagues to do whatever they could to help protect Egypt’s archaeological sites. We are proud that our facebook site has enabled all of us–Egyptians and non-Egyptians–to work together harmoniously, productively and collaboratively for the greater good. We thank you all, and we honor you all. And may our just cause succeed, and may Hibeh and all Egyptian sites and Egyptian cultural heritage be protected for the future of Egypt and all its citizens, and for the future of the world and all its citizens.

Here’s a link to some video taken at the site… http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150700696664354

Will add some images here as soon as I can, am travelling so it’s not so easy. There’s lots of new and awful images at the FB group page at http://www.facebook.com/groups/337119989673652/

There’s good news and bad news

SO the old saying goes – we have good news and bad news. Dr Carol Redmount of the El Hibeh Excavation team has some good news and some bad news to report. Here’s the full text:

Yesterday I went to the taftish to meet with Mme. Nadia Ashour, the Director of the Beni Suef Inspectorate. She gave me a warm welcome while we waited two hours for our police escort. When we arrived at the site we officially opened the magazine, which was intact, and I selected the material to be transferred to the storehouse at Ihnasya el-Medinah.

Mme. Nadia spoke with the guards and inspectors and various others at the site and then, to my delight, asked me if I would like to walk on the tell and if I had a camera with me. The answer to both questions was yes. Mme. Nadia requested copies of all the pictures I was going to take, which of course I will be delighted to give to her, both as a flash drive and as printed copies.

So we all made an inspection of the site together, Mme. Nadia, myself, several inspectors from the Beni Suef Inspectorate, two of whom, Ahmed and Rabi’, had worked with us before, and our security escorts.

We saw the mummy featured in the newspaper outside the entrance to city. I finally set eyes on the beautiful uraeus frieze above the limestone doorway of what must once have been a beautiful tomb, now empty.

There was lots of evidence of looting in the cemetery in front of the north entrace to the site, but I am also happy to report no obvious signs of major bulldozing. I am going to compare the pictures I took yesterday with earlier photos.

Walking through the north entrance, it was a physical shock to see the many looting holes still visible and the mounds of earth next to them. Our group walked all over the site together and I took photographs until my battery died. There are holes everywhere, some many meters deep. It is also clear that many other holes have been dug and filled in, so the true extent of the damage is even greater than first appearances.

Everyone was appalled at the damage from the looting and many other people took pictures also. Mme. Nadia especially was furious and asked me again for copies of pictures so that she could write a very strong report about the looting. It was wonderful to walk together in solidarity on the tell with my Egyptian colleagues, and to all work together to continue our efforts to end the looting and destruction of Hibeh.

After visiting the site, we all proceeded to the Ihnasya el Medinah storeroom where Atef Helmy, who is in charge of the Ihnasya storehouse, had been waiting for us all day. We were very late because of our visit to the tell and our late start. Mr. Helmy gave us all a very warm welcome. Our team is also looking forward to working with him and our inspector as we do our studies at the Ihnasya storehouse.

Yesterday was, I believe, a big step forward in our quest to protect Hibeh, and we thank all of you, the SCA, and especially our Egyptian colleagues, for all your help. Our job is not finished, however, as the site is not yet protected and the gangster is free to come back today and continue looting the site whenever he pleases, which he undoubtedly will do.

Hibeh, and sites like it all over Egypt still need protection.

Dr Carol Redmount http://www.facebook.com/groups/337119989673652/permalink/342481622470822/

It’s good news that more of the site damage has been documented and that Egyptian authorities are becoming more aware of the extent of the looting. It’s great news that the storage magazine was undamaged and that Carol and her team will be able to work on some of the artefacts. It’s good news that there’s no evidence of bulldozers being used. It’s great news that the excavation team is getting support from Egyptian colleagues and the Inspectorate. It’s great news that the work of everyone involved in the campaign to draw attention to El Hibeh and other looting is paying off.

It’s sad news that the damage is even more widespread than previously thought. And even sadder news that there’s nothing happening yet to stop further looting.

Thanks to everyone who has already supported the campaign and taken action in one way or another. Please continue your good work, keep spreading the word, support the FB group and sign the petition or encourage others to sign.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Protect_Egypts_Archaeological_Sites/?fMHyyab&pv=3

There are other ways to support the campaign as well, you’ll find them all documented here

https://nilewavetravel.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/el-hibeh-take-action-update/

PLEASE sign now – El Hibeh petition

Massive looting of archaeological sites in Egypt continues as security forces turn a blind eye to thugs plundering Egypt’s cultural heritage.

Human bones left by looters at El Hibeh

Human bones left by looters at El Hibeh

El Hibeh archaeological site on the east bank of the Nile lies in a particularly impoverished area of Egypt, three hour’s drive south of Cairo. For the past 9 months a gang has been systematically and openly looting the site while the local police seemingly turn a blind eye.
For more information on El Hibeh please join the facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/337119989673652/

Please the sign to petition which is addressed to the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Egyptian Government and which it is hoped will further alert them to the crimes taking place not only at El Hibeh but in numerous other places across Egypt, which represent the cultural heritage of Egypt and the world.

This petition demands that the SCA and Egyptian government act to immediately re-establish and mantain security at El Hibeh and other archaeological sites across Egypt.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Protect_Egypts_Archaeological_Sites/

Local rumour has it that bulldozers are now being used to dig up the desert east of the town mound – this is a dire and URGENT situation! PLEASE sign the petition today.

El Hibeh – take action update

If you are disturbed and horrified by the looting of Egypt and the world’s treasures from sites like El Hibeh, there are ways you can help take action.

Head of a mummy discarded

Head of a mummy discarded

1. Sign the petition

A petition has been set up online – it’s easy to sign and just takes about a minute maximum. PLEASE sign and share!

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Protect_Egypts_Archaeological_Sites/?fMHyyab&pv=3

2. Join the Facebook Group

The group shares pictures of the site, of looting, articles regarding this issue, and it is hoped that after joining you will spread the word, add friends to the group, and notify the press when and where possible. We must take action to save El Hibeh and hundreds of other sites like it that have been severely damaged as a result of limited police protection since January 28, 2011.

3. Share the group and invite others to join

4. If you’re on Twitter, share the group and posts – use hashtags #ElHibeh and #looting

5. Send some emails

The following paragraph can be cut and pasted into emails and sent to organisations and contact (see below for suggestions). We suggest that you put El Hibeh and Looting in the subject line.

I am appalled at the looting that is currently occurring at the ancient Egyptian site of El Hibeh as well as in numerous other places across Egypt. These sites represent the cultural heritage of Egypt and the world. It is imperative that looting be stopped immediately and that security is re-established and maintained. We urge you to take all necessary actions to make this happen.

Concerned,

You may wish to add points about the importance of tourism, the image of the country, etc.

Important contacts include:

Egyptian Prime Minister’s Office:

pm@cabinet.gov.eg

Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities:

Minister of State for Antiquities

Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim
3 El-Adel Abu Bakr St.
Zamalek, Cairo
Email: ministry.antiquities@msa-egypt.org
Tel.: +20 02-2736-5645 +20 02-2736-5645
Fax: +20 02-2735-7239

Office of the SCA Secretary General

Secretary General: Dr. Mostafa Amin
4D Fakhry Abdel Nour
Abbassia, Cairo
Email: sca.secretarygeneral@gmail.com
Tel.: +20 02-2684-3627 +20 02-2684-3627
Fax: +20 02-2683-1117

SCA Press Office

3 El-Adel Abu Bakr St.
Zamalek, Cairo
Email: sca3press@yahoo.com
Tel./Fax: +20 02-2735-3964 +20 02-2735-3964

UNESCO offices in Cairo

Director: Tarek Galal Shawki
UNESCO Cairo Office
Mail: t.shawki(at)unesco.org
Tel: 00202 27941458 00202 27941458
Fax: 00202 2794 5296

Assistant to the Director: Dalia Khalil
Director’s Office
Mail: d.khalil(at)unesco.org
Tel: 00202 27941458 00202 27941458
Fax: 0020 2 2794 5296

International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)

Online email form: http://france.icomos.org/fr/contact.htm

Egyptian Embassies (others located here: http://www.mfa.gov.eg/English/Embassies/Pages/Listing.aspx
)

United States:

General embassy email: Embassy@egyptembassy.net

Dr. Mohamed A. Saleh Kerasha
Cultural Attaché
Phone: (202)-530-0302
msaleh@eecous.net

United Kingdom:

General embassy email: eg.emb_london@mfa.gov.eg

Cultural Affairs Office
Phone: +442074917720, +442074917720
egypt.culture@btconnect.com

France:

General embassy email: Paris_emb@mfa.gov.eg

Cultural Attaché: (+33) 140700831
Camelia.sobhi @ bureaucultureleg.fr

Looting has been happening at other sites as well as El Hibeh. Here is a short video showing some of the damage at Abusir.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150685795904354

Abu Sir did attract some media attention:

http://www.egyptindependent.com/node/681041

Have a look at some of the special finds from El Hibeh.

http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/dept/ant/publications/decoratedsurfaces/posters/wrapson.pdf

El Hibeh destruction continues

While those associated with the Facebook group working to apply pressure and get some protection for El Hibeh continue to pursue a variety of strategies, it seems the level of destruction continues to mount.

Graphic explaining why El Hibeh is important

Today, 15th March, Egypt’s El Wafd weeekly newspaper had a large article drawing attention to the problems. The article is in Arabic and accompanied by pictures which show even further damage to some of the areas photographed earlier in March. The reporter, Magdy Salama, travelled to El Hibeh a few days ago to find no security at the site, walked everywhere and took lots of pictures, some of which can be seen in the article. The article has been scanned and can be seen here http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150684079459354&set=oa.340152236037094&type=1&theater. A translation will hopefully soon be available.

El Wafd newspaper article

Reporter Magdy Salama's article with picture of him holding human remains exposed by looters in recent days.

Also for Arabic readers there’s another article published expressing support for inspectors at El Hibeh.

http://www.el-balad.com/107193/alathryon-almstklon-ytda.aspx

A petition has been established calling for protection of Egypt’s archaeological sites. Please sign and share – 5000 signatures are needed.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Protect_Egypts_Archaeological_Sites/?fMHyyab&pv=3

It is also hoped to get Google Earth to update their images of the area and everyone is encouraged to mark El Hibeh in the hope that if enough people do so, Google Earth will get some new images. These will be very valuable in tracking the extent of the looting. The image below is taken at night.

El Hibeh satellite image

This is a satellite view of El Hibeh taken several years ago. Compare it with the most recent Google earth view of the site. Google has three satellite images taken in different years. The most recent is after the looting. Although it was taken at night, you can still see the looting pits in the reflected light of the desert and the town wall.

We may be able to get Google Earth to update the Hibeh images and show it currently and in daylight. Go to this link, https://followyourworld.appspot.com/, type in Al Hibah, Egypt for the location. It will take you to a small village just south of the mound. Move the picture a bit to the north until you see a perfectly square enclosure. Place the + sign on the mound and click it. Complete the rest of the form and here’s hoping.

A general view showing many looter's pits

A general view at El Hibeh showing many looter's pits

Don’t forget to PLEASE share the information far and wide.

Thanks to the Hibeh Excavation for photos.

Looting updates

The situation at El Hibeh is dire and immediate. The Save El Hibeh Egypt group on Facebook (http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2012/03/11/pilleurs-d-egypte-intenses-trafics-sur-les-sites-archeologiques_1654534_3218.html) now numbers over 1100 members but still needs more support and more action. The comprehensive press release can be freely distributed and there is also a suggested email and a list of contacts. If you’re on Twitter you can also tweet using the ElHibeh hashtag. Please send the information as far and wide as you can.

Remains of a mummy broken and scattered at El Hibeh

Remains of a mummy broken and scattered at El Hibeh

Looter working in broad daylight at El Hibeh

Looter working in broad daylight at El Hibeh

The situation at Abu Sir is also dire as you can see here http://www.egyptindependent.com/node/681041

Just this week near Luxor 10 people were killed while digging illegally under a house for antiquities. Four were brothers. Sadly, this tragedy is unlikely to stop looters from continuing to dig.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/36578/Heritage/Ancient-Egypt/-die-in-Egypt-while-digging-for-ancient-treasures.aspx

In fact, looting has been widespread since the Revolution in January last year as poverty or greed drive people to try and capitalise on the more disorganised and difficult security situation.

In Aswan Le Monde reports:

“Since the revolution, people dig like crazy on the western bank of Aswan”, confirms Kelany Adel, Inspector of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt (SCA). “Traffickers, professionals, but also ordinary people. They go crazy when they find a tomb, it’s full of mummies! In the old Aswan, they dig tunnels in their homes than nine meters long … in the granite. In most cases, they find nothing, some pottery, but that’s a lot of deaths (due to various accidents because it is work done by amateurs with no experience) and damage: while digging their tunnels, they destroy the inscriptions engraved in stone. “

Read all the details here http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2012/03/11/pilleurs-d-egypte-intenses-trafics-sur-les-sites-archeologiques_1654534_3218.html

Some items have been recovered such as these at Minya http://www.egyptindependent.com/node/696886 but the SCA says 2% of antiquities have been affected. In a country as rich in archaeological treasure as Egypt this is a LOT of pieces. Obviously stopping continued looting is vital as well as recovery of already stolen pieces.

News update from the FB group: Apparently Mohamed Sherdy will be on-air tonight (Wednesday 14th March) on the program Al Qahera Al Youm to discuss the looting of Hibeh and other sites. This will be his third call in one week for security to be restored to all archaeological sites. His last presentation was aggressive, so we await to see what is next. We will post the Arabic broadcast as soon as it is uploaded on the tv’s website tomorrow.

Here is the link to a previous presentation (in Arabic):
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151384907210705

This database, http://egyptopaedia.com/2011/ attempts to document all cases of looting both to record historically what happens and to describe the extent of the problem. If you have any information there is a form on the website to contribute data.

Human bones left by looters at El Hibeh

Human bones left by looters at El Hibeh


All El Hibeh images have been provided by the Hibeh Expedition.

El Hibeh campaign continues

If you’d like to get involved to help stop the looting at El Hibeh and other Egyptian sites – here’s some contacts and some help from the Save El Hibeh Group…

The following paragraph can be cut and pasted into emails and sent to organisations and contact (see below for suggestions). We suggest that you put El Hibeh and Looting in the subject line.

I am appalled at the looting that is currently occurring at the ancient Egyptian site of El Hibeh as well as in numerous other places across Egypt. These sites represent the cultural heritage of Egypt and the world. It is imperative that looting be stopped immediately and that security is re-established and maintained. We urge you to take all necessary actions to make this happen.

Concerned,

You may wish to add points about the importance of tourism, the image of the country, etc.

Important contacts include:

Egyptian Prime Minister’s Office:

pm@cabinet.gov.eg

Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities:

Minister of State for Antiquities

Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim
3 El-Adel Abu Bakr St.
Zamalek, Cairo
Email: ministry.antiquities@msa-egypt.org
Tel.: +20 02-2736-5645 +20 02-2736-5645
Fax: +20 02-2735-7239

Office of the SCA Secretary General

Secretary General: Dr. Mostafa Amin
4D Fakhry Abdel Nour
Abbassia, Cairo
Email: sca.secretarygeneral@gmail.com
Tel.: +20 02-2684-3627 +20 02-2684-3627
Fax: +20 02-2683-1117

SCA Press Office

3 El-Adel Abu Bakr St.
Zamalek, Cairo
Email: sca3press@yahoo.com
Tel./Fax: +20 02-2735-3964 +20 02-2735-3964

UNESCO offices in Cairo

Director: Tarek Galal Shawki
UNESCO Cairo Office
Mail: t.shawki(at)unesco.org
Tel: 00202 27941458 00202 27941458
Fax: 00202 2794 5296

Assistant to the Director: Dalia Khalil
Director’s Office
Mail: d.khalil(at)unesco.org
Tel: 00202 27941458 00202 27941458
Fax: 0020 2 2794 5296

International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)

Online email form: http://france.icomos.org/fr/contact.htm

Egyptian Embassies (others located here: http://www.mfa.gov.eg/English/Embassies/Pages/Listing.aspx
)

United States:

General embassy email: Embassy@egyptembassy.net

Dr. Mohamed A. Saleh Kerasha
Cultural Attaché
Phone: (202)-530-0302
msaleh@eecous.net

United Kingdom:

General embassy email: eg.emb_london@mfa.gov.eg

Cultural Affairs Office
Phone: +442074917720, +442074917720
egypt.culture@btconnect.com

France:

General embassy email: Paris_emb@mfa.gov.eg

Cultural Attaché: (+33) 140700831
Camelia.sobhi @ bureaucultureleg.fr

Just to remind you of what is happening here’s some more images.

Destroyed mummies

Destroyed mummies, perhaps a basket.

Bones

Scattered bones

Head of a mummy discarded

Head of a mummy discarded

Bones outside a looted tomb

Bones outside a looted tomb

News from the digs

While some areas of Egypt are seeing looting at archaeological sites, in other places digs are proceeding well. We’ve given you some links to just a few of the sites and the work being done there. While you enjoy these please give a thought to supporting the campaign to stop the looting at El Hibah – there’s a FB group you can join to keep abreast of what’s happening.

Broken stone coffin and human remains in a pit near the north wall.

Broken stone coffin and human remains in a pit near the north wall at El Hibeh.

http://www.facebook.com/groups/337119989673652/

EES Minufiyeh Survey
In March and April 2012 Dr Joanne Rowland again leads the Egypt Exploration Society’s Expedition to the Minufiyeh Governorate, Egypt. During this season Jo and her team will be carrying out excavation and geophysical survey work at the site of Quesna.

http://minufiyeh.tumblr.com/post/19139974063/many-finds-in-the-cemetery

One younger and one more experienced archaeologist working together to uncover a burial in T9 at Manufiyeh

One younger and one more experienced archaeologist working together to uncover a burial in T9 at Manufiyeh.

Leiden Mission Dig Saqqara
Seasons 2004-2006 were spent in explorations of Horemheb’s hitherto unknown forecourt and First Pylon, and of the forecourt of his neighbour Tia. The two following years (2007-2008) were devoted to excavation of the tomb of the royal butler Ptahemwia, further east.

In 2009 the tomb-chapels of two priests of Ptah were found, Tatia and Khay, and in 2010 an unfinished and so far anonymous tomb was uncovered to the south of that of Ptahemwia.

http://www.saqqara.nl/news/mission-digging-diary/2012-digging-diaries/2012-3-2

Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA) 2012 season
The 2012 excavation season sees a return to the Gallery Complex at AERA’s main site of Heit el-Ghurab. The immense size of the complex, which is divided into four sets of elongated galleries, is a defining feature of the site. Previous excavation of parts of these enigmatic structures, by the AERA team over the years, has given rise to the idea that they could have been built as accommodations for the workers who built the Pyramids at Giza.

http://www.aeraweb.org/blog/back-to-barracks-excavation-of-gallery-iii-3/

EES Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Project
The first season of EES Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Project (http://goo.gl/XFuBb) began in January 2011 but was cut short by the Egyptian revolution. The project director, Dr Angus Graham, and co returned to Luxor in mid-February 2012 and regular updates on their progress will appear on this page. To help support this project and others like it please visit http://tinyurl.com/6jwdouk

http://eestheban.tumblr.com/post/19230577029/the-last-few-days-for-now

Theban Mapping Project
Since its inception in 1978, the Theban Mapping Project (TMP, now based at the American University in Cairo) has been working to prepare a comprehensive archaeological database of Thebes. With its thousands of tombs and temples, Thebes is one of the world’s most important archaeological zones. Sadly, however, it has not fared well over the years. Treasure-hunters and curio-seekers plundered it in the past; pollution, rising ground water, and mass-tourism threaten it in the present. Even early archaeologists destroyed valuable information in their search for museum-quality pieces.

http://www.thebanmappingproject.com/

Franck Goddio Society
Franck Goddio and his team conduct underwater archaeological mission in and around Alexandria. They have made some fascinating discoveries.

A serene face of a statue underwater in Alexandria

A serene face of a statue underwater in Alexandria.

http://www.franckgoddio.org/

German Archaeological Institute (DAI)
Working on a variety of projects in a number of areas of Egypt. You’ll find all the information right here

http://www.dainst.org/en/projects?ft=all

The Amarna Project
The ancient Egyptian city of Tell el-Amarna (or simply Amarna) was the short-lived capital built by the ‘heretic’ Pharaoh Akhenaten and abandoned shortly after his death (c. 1332 BCE). It was here that he pursued his vision of a society dedicated to the cult of one god, the power of the sun (the Aten). As well as this historic interest Amarna remains the largest readily accessible living-site from ancient Egypt. It is thus simultaneously the key to a chapter in the history of religious experience and to a fuller understanding of what it was like to be an ancient Egyptian. There is no other site like it.

http://www.amarnaproject.com/

EES Delta Survey
For the fourth season running, during March 2012, Dr Patricia Spencer will be posting regular updates from the Delta, Egypt.

http://deltasurvey.tumblr.com/

These are just a few of the many projects happening in Egypt right now – have fun exploring.

El Hibeh – more on the looting

Below is a press release regarding the El Hibeh looting. Please support the campaign to save this valuable archaeological site and spread the word wherever and however you can. You can use the resources on the Facebook group page (http://www.facebook.com/groups/337119989673652/), including photographs and this release.

Begins…

Massive looting of archaeological sites in Egypt continues as security forces turn a blind eye to thugs plundering Egypt’s cultural heritage.

After Egypt’s revolution, priceless artifacts were stolen from the nation’s world-famous Egyptian Museum in Cairo as well as from innumerable storehouses scattered throughout the country.

Today the continued plundering of archaeological sites, which comprise Egypt’s cultural heritage in its most pristine state, presents an even more critical challenge as sites are often remote and protected by low-paid guards and state security seems unable or unwilling to halt the mayhem.

Double image showing the same part of the site as it was in 2009 (top) and today (2012)

Double image showing the same part of the site as it was in 2009 (top) and today (2012).

El Hibeh is one such site. On the east bank of the Nile in a particularly impoverished area of Egypt three hour’s drive south of Cairo, the archaeological site occupies about two square kilometers and includes cemeteries and the ruins of a walled ancient provincial town with a limestone temple, industrial facilities, houses and possible fort and governing residence. The remains date from the late Pharaonic, Graeco-Roman, Coptic and early Islamic periods (approximately 11th century BCE to eighth century CE). Hibeh is of special importance because it is one of very few relatively intact town sites remaining in Egypt and because of its extensive archaeological deposits dating to the Third Intermediate Period, Egypt’s last “Dark Age” and an era particularly poorly known archaeologically.

Eminent University of California, Berkeley archaeologist Dr. Carol Redmount arrived in Egypt in February to continue her archaeological work at the site after obtaining the proper permits from Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities which controls all excavations in the country.

Twenty-four hours before departing for the site her permits were revoked by the provincial police service with no explanation. Inquiries revealed that a mafia-like gang led by an escaped convicted criminal have been ruthlessly looting the site since at least June 2011. The Supreme Council of Antiquities has been unable to stop the pillaging despite repeated appeals to local police services. Open, systematic looting continues on a daily basis as of the writing of this press release. Dr. Redmount has not been allowed to visit the site nor do any work.

“Hibeh is vitally important to understanding the character of ancient Egypt in the Third Intermediate Period, a very confusing and confused historical era for which only limited archaeological resources exist. Archaeology is controlled destruction, but looting is obliteration. It destroys an irreplaceable, nonrenewable cultural resource that belongs to humanity,” says Dr. Redmount.

Tomb with a beautiful uraeus frieze opened by looters and all contents destroyed

Tomb with a beautiful uraeus frieze opened by looters and all contents destroyed.

Redmount’s team of six researchers from UC Berkeley is currently unable to do any of its proposed academic program at Hibeh for which they had received permission from the Egyptian authorities. This is costing the team tens of thousands of dollars in lost grants.

“Our primary concern of course is the incalculable loss of precious archaeological evidence. Archaeologists dream of excavating undistrubed or even relatively undisturbed historic sites. We are losing Hibeh for posterity as we speak,” adds Dr. Redmount.

Independent verification of the scale of the looting has been provided by visitors to the site who sent photos to Dr. Redmount, including pictures of looting in progress.

Exposed mummified child from the Coptic period.

Exposed mummified child from the Coptic period.

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Photographic evidence of the looting is available.

For media inquiries, contact:
1. Dr.Carol Redmount, Egypt cell: +20-102-043-4999, redmount@berkeley.edu.

2. Dr. Heidi Saleh, Professor at St. Rosa Junior College, California, who is able to discuss importance of site and has worked at Hibeh, hsaleh@santarosa.edu, tel. +1-707-527-4578.

3. Mohamed Sherdy, prominent Egyptian politician, spearheading efforts to protect Hibeh and other sites, m.sherdy@editorpr.com, tel. +202-333-81069, mob. +20-100-559-9559.

4. For Arabic media contacts: Amir Bibawy, Egyptian-American journalist, +20-120-706-7555 or +1-202-329-9169.
More pictures and details can be found at the Save El Hibeh Egypt Facebook page and at http://neareastern.berkeley.edu/hibeh/index.htm

Ends

Page explaining the importance of El Hibeh

Page explaining the importance of El Hibeh


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