Category Archives: Looting

Sorry folks on El Hibeh story

From Dr Carol Redmount

Please note that I have just learned that the airing has been postponed due to other breaking news . . .

how sad – this seems like a pretty important story to me… this means that the story mentioned in the previous post will NOT go to air in the US this Thursday – will let you know if I find out when it will actually air…

El Hibeh remains of a child mummy

Child’s foot. Truly outrageous. Now reburied.

Another exposed and destroyed mummy found beside path back to guard building at El Hibeh. This was reburied.

Another exposed and destroyed mummy found beside path back to guard building. This was reburied.

El Hibeh – still an issue

From Dr. Carol Redmount

I have just learned that the NBC Rock Center with Brian Williams program “on the chaotic state of Egyptian Antiquities,” in which El Hibeh plays “a prominent part in the story” is scheduled to air this Thurs 10pm on the U.S. East Coast. Filming took place while we were in Egypt. However, I was also warned that if there were any breaking news stories the segment could be postponed. If a web-link is forthcoming I will post it here . . .

TO keep up-to-date with what is still happening in regards to El Hibeh, and at times more generally the state of looting Egyptian antiquities please join the FB page Save El Hibeh Egypt at http://www.facebook.com/groups/337119989673652/

Looter pits are thick on the site at El Hibeh

Looter pits are thick on the site at El Hibeh

Reburying scattered mummy pieces at El Hibeh

Reburying scattered mummy pieces

Coptic era pottery broken at El Hibeh

Coptic era pottery broken at El Hibeh

El Hibeh mummy remains

Destroyed mummy on burial textiles a few meters south of destroyed excavation trench. Now reburied.

El Hibeh North Cemetery. Looted grave with adjacent burned material.

El Hibeh North Cemetery. Looted grave with adjacent burned material.

Looted mummy remains at El Hibeh

Looted mummy remains at El Hibeh

El Hibeh Friday update 4 May 2012

Latest update from Dr Carol Redmount

 

 

El Hibeh remains of a child mummy

Child’s foot. Truly outrageous. Now reburied.

This was supposed to be a regular Friday update, but yesterday got away from me so for this week it is a Saturday update. I flew directly from Cairo to the national Annual Meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt, the main professional organization for U.S. Egyptologists, where I gave a paper on the Hibeh looting entitled “Collateral Damage: El Hibeh Middle Egypt and the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.” The presentation was well attended and well received, with a number of people commenting that the damage came through much more forcefully on a large screen than on face-book. I have also received several invitations to speak on the topic at local ARCE chapters, which of course I will accept. I am now back in Berkeley, while Andy remains on the front lines in Cairo.

 

My re-entry into California life has been somewhat disrupted by the sudden and unexpected death of my home desktop computer, my primary work station. Even more helpfully the thing died right after downloading off the server (so I can’t access it) about the previous two week’s worth of e-mails plus some earlier ones I was saving to respond to immediately upon my arrival in Berkeley. Fortunately everything is backed up (or supposed to be), but it will take me a few more days to get the replacement computer up and running and the back-up information onto the new computer with the help of a university technical person.

Now that we are out of the field we are regrouping and charting our short and long-term courses of action. We are NOT going to stop agitating for protection for Hibeh, and we are going to continue to do our best to keep raising awareness of the looting problem at Hibeh and at Egyptian sites more generally, and to maintain pressure on the authorities to adequately protect cultural heritage sites to the greatest degree possible. All, of course, with your help; we cannot do any of this alone. 

We recognize, of course, that at present our Egyptian friends and colleagues, and for that matter all Egyptians (as well as ourselves and many non-Egyptians) are focused on and intently following the Egyptian elections. It remains to be seen how the election process plays out, especially given the recent violence in Cairo, and what the results are. Nevertheless we hope and pray that everyone does not completely lose sight of the on-going damage being inflicted on Egypt’s antiquities in the current unsettled situation, and that attention to cultural heritage safety does not get totally engulfed in the vortex of politics and the elections. Once sites are gone, they are gone forever.

As far as Hibeh specifically goes, our efforts will not stop. We will continue our efforts to keep Hibeh (and antiquities more generally) in the public eye and we are working on further media campaigns about which you will hear more shortly. Inter alia, I will be giving lectures at various venues over the coming months highlighting the destruction at Hibeh. We are NOT going away. 

As always we thank you for your steadfast support and for all your efforts on our behalf.

El Hibeh final field update 2012

The field season has now ended for the El Hibeh Excavation team, however the fight to stop the looting goes on. This is the final posting from the field from Dr Carol Redmount.

Another exposed and destroyed mummy found beside path back to guard building at El Hibeh. This was reburied.

Another exposed and destroyed mummy found beside path back to guard building. This was reburied.

We ended our 2012 Hibeh field season at the Ihnasya Magazine on April 19. I am pleased to report that, despite less than ideal conditions, we were nevertheless able to make a significant dent in our ceramic and small objects backlogs during the month we were working. Rexine Hummel processed approximately 1500 sherds, concentrating on selected excavated areas with well stratified Third Intermediate Period archaeological deposits. The object registry team, headed by Joan Knudsen, reviewed, registered and/or rehoused virtually all the material we transported from the Hibeh magazine to Ihnasya (we left behind at Hibeh large and delicate items that would have been problematic to transport). We especially wish to thank our MSA Inspector, Mr. Rabee Akl, for all his support and assistance, the Director of the Ihnasya Magazine, Mr. Atef Helmy, who so generously let us take over his office for our work, and the General Director of the Beni Suef Inspectorate, Mme. Nadia Ashour, as well as the Cairo MSA officials who gave us permission to transport El Hibeh materials to the Ihnasya Magazine and study them there. We are very grateful to all these individuals.

Unfortunately, our number one concern, the on-going and massive looting at the site, continues unabated. We were very pleased that last Tuesday, April 17, an official delegation, headed by Abdel-Hamid Maarouf, Director General of the Pharaonic Sector, came from Cairo to investigate looting at several sites, including Ihnasya and El Hibeh. The delegation stopped very briefly to greet us at the Ihnasya Magazine and then, after visiting Ihnasya, continued on to Hibeh where they reviewed the damage to the site accompanied by many members of the Beni Suef Inspectorate. We were told that the delegation visited the site for over an hour and took many pictures. It is our sincere and very great hope that their visit will result in rapid and direct action being taken to protect Hibeh and other sites from further looting.

We received permission to return our study materials to the Hibeh Magazine from the Ihnasya Magazine on the last day of our field season, April 19. We rented a truck, packed the materials, and returned them to Hibeh where, after some initial difficulties with the local Hibeh guards who manhandled the bags of pottery, we succeeded in getting everything back in place in the Hibeh magazine. We then visited the site one last time during our 2012 field season with our MSA colleagues from the Beni Suef Inspectorate. Our goal was to bury as many of the scattered mummy/ body parts as we could, and to see whether there had been further damage to the tell. Alas, the answer to that last question is that more large-scale looting had taken place since our last visit, and even in the two days that had passed between the visit of the official delegation from Cairo and our arrival. It appears that dirt from the new looting is used to fill and cover up the holes created by previously looting. Distressingly, more fresh body parts were everywhere, including the mummified forearms and lower legs of a small child. The partial mummy of the woman that we had photographed at our last visit, however, had disappeared. Together with our Egyptian colleagues and the assistance of two site guards we reburied as many body parts as we could, as close as possible to where they were found.

Reburying scattered mummy pieces at El Hibeh

Reburying scattered mummy pieces

Although this is our last update from our currently field season in Egypt, it is not our final posting. That will not occur until Hibeh is adequately protected. In the coming days we will add more photos to our albums and continue comparing the various looting photos that we have taken ourselves or been sent with each other and with earlier, pre-looting photos of the site. In this way we hope to track, as best we can, the progress of the pillaging. We will also continue to carry on our work to raise public awareness of the looting problem generally — Egypt’s cultural heritage is, after all, an important, non-renewable resource that is also an important part of world heritage — as well as continue our campaign to get Hibeh and other Egyptian cultural heritage sites protected. I leave Egypt shortly to fly to the annual national meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt (the major professional organization of American Egyptologists), which is also attended by Egyptologists from all over the world, where I will be giving a talk entitled “Collateral Damage” that will review the importance of Hibeh and assess the irreparable damage the looting has done and is still doing to the site.

As always, we thank all of you, Egyptians and non-Egyptians, for your steadfast support and we very much hope you will continue that support as we carry our cause forward past the ending of our 2012 field season. We will not stop our efforts until Hibeh and Egypt’s cultural heritage are protected once more, however long that may be, although we very much hope it will be sooner rather than later.

Looter pits are thick on the site at El Hibeh

Looter pits are thick on the site at El Hibeh

See all the images at http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.364071873645130&type=1

El Hibeh 19 April 2012

El Hibeh looting pits

El Hibeh looting pits all over the mound

From the Hibeh Excavation Team

On the very last day of the season, much of which was spent reviewing previously excavated material that we were allowed to take to Ihnasya, we were allowed to visit El Hibeh with heavy police guard. The main task was to bury exposed human bodies that looters have strewn all over the site. We thank all the employees of the Ministry of Antiquities who made the visit possible. The visit was severely depressing and emotional. Looting continues on a vast scale with massive pits appearing since Carol’s last visit only a few weeks ago.

El Hibeh mummy remains

Destroyed mummy on burial textiles a few meters south of destroyed excavation trench. Now reburied.

El Hibeh looter pits

Looter pits looking towards North Gate.

El Hibeh remains of a child mummy

Child's foot. Truly outrageous. Now reburied.

El Hibeh huge looter's pit

Limestone doorframe and mudbrick structures exposed by looters. The sheer scale of the pit and destruction is unbelievable. — with Rabee Akl and Carol Redmount.

Gathering mummy parts for reburial at El Hibeh

Gathering mummy parts for reburial

Coptic era pottery broken at El Hibeh

Coptic era pottery broken at El Hibeh

Tomb or other structures exposed and explored by looters at El Hibeh

Tomb or other structures exposed and explored by looters.

For all the photos from this site visit please see http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.364071873645130&type=1 If you haven’t already joined the group please do so and give your support.

El Hibeh Friday 13 April update

Friday update, April 13 from Dr Carol Redmount.

It has been a quiet week in the Ihnasya magazine, as we plowed through more and more of our backlog of objects and pottery. Andy Dailey and Joan Knudsen joined or rejoined the team, and the work progressed. Thanks again to Mr. Atef Helmy who is so kindly permitting us to use his office for our work.

Yesterday we celebrated Inspector Rabi’a Akl’s birthday. Today we took a falouka ride on the Nile in order to approach Hibeh from the south, rather than the north to see what the terrain looks like from that direction. You can see the mound clearly from the river; it has a typical tell profile.

As far as the site goes, Al Ahram on-line (English version) posted that a high-level Ministry of Antiquities inspection tour, headed by Abdel-Hamid Maarouf, head of the ancient Egyptian antiquities department, had taken place. The tour is actually, however, scheduled for next week. It is supposed to include Ihnasya and Dahshur as well as Hibeh. Let us all hope that the inspection tour will result in the deployment of protection for the site so that further looting may be prevented.

We wish we had more to report, but although things are moving slowly, there is some progress. Again we thank all of you, Egyptians and non-Egyptians, for all your support.

El Hibeh Friday update, April 6

Latest update from Dr. Carol Redmount, Hibeh Excavation Team.
Friday update, April 6.

Our study season at the Ihnasya Magazine continues to go well, and Rexine has processed over 700 potsherds. We are almost caught up with recording our small finds. Our two graduate students, Lissette and Elizabeth left us and are now back in the States, but Joan and Andy have taken their places. It has been a pleasure to get to know some of our Egyptian colleagues at the Ihnasya taftish and again we are grateful to the SCA for permission to undertake our study season.

Meanwhile, however, Hibeh remains unprotected and the looters are still free to come and go at will. We continue to work to raise awareness of the looting problem. Media from England, Spain, the U.S., Germany and Finland have shown interest in the last week in helping raise public awareness of the problem. This past Wednesday a group of international media people were supposed to visit Hibeh. They went through all the proper channels and had obtained all the required offiicial permits. At the very last minute, when they were ten minutes away from the taftish at Beni Suef where everyone was to meet, permission to visit the site was withdrawn. For a fee, they were permitted instead to document us working in the storehouse at Ihnasya.

Study potsherds from El Hibeh

Studying potsherds from El Hibeh

We continue to stand with our Egyptian colleagues to work to stop the looting at Hibeh and elsewhere and to raise both local and international awareness of the problem. Once again, we cannot thank you enough, all you members of the Facebook site (http://www.facebook.com/groups/337119989673652/ ) Egyptian and non-Egyptian, for all your support. We are all working together to get not only Hibeh protected someday, but also all the other cultural heritage sites of Egypt. These sites are a non-renewable resource that need protection as soon as possible. We hope to have more positive news about Hibeh next week.

Coptic Cemetery, eastern end, El Hibeh

Coptic Cemetery, eastern end, El Hibeh

Friday update

From Dr Carol Redmount of the El Hibeh Excavation team:

Friday update, March 30, 2012.

Not a great deal to report this week. At Ihnasya we continue to study pottery and small finds from our previous excavations at Hibeh. Again we wish to thank the SCA for permission to undertake this work. We continue to work to raise the profile, nationally and internationally, of looting at Hibeh and elsewhere and again we thank you for all your support. Alas, Hibeh still has no security, and we must continue our efforts until the site is protected. Thank you all again, and I hope I will have more to tell you next Friday.

Before and after looting picture at El Hibeh

Before and after looting picture at El Hibeh. East town wall before (above) and after (below) looting.

Looted and scattered mummy

Looted and scattered mummy at El Hibeh

Coptic Cemetery at El Hibeh. Detail of looting at western end.

Coptic Cemetery at El Hibeh. Detail of looting at western end.

Cultural objects at risk

One year on from the events that took place in Egypt in 2011, ICOM’s actions to protect the country’s cultural heritage from the ensuing thefts of non-inventoried objects from archaeological sites and museums have led to the publication of the Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk.

Red list cover
The International Council of Museums (ICOM) announced the official launch, at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation in Cairo (NMEC) of a new Emergency Red List: the Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk. ICOM Director General, Julien Anfruns, officially presented the Emergency Red List, on this occasion, in the presence of the Director of the NMEC, Dr Mohammed Abdel Fatah. Following the presentation, Julien Anfruns had an official meeting with the Minister of State for Antiquities, Pr Mohammed Ibrahim Ali.

The ICOM Red Lists are important, effective tools designed to help police and customs officials, heritage professionals and art and antiquities dealers identify the types of objects that are most susceptible to illicit trafficking and therefore subject to smuggling and illicit trade. “This Emergency Red List will concretely assist all those, inside and outside of Egypt, concerned by an involvement in the protection of Egyptian cultural heritage, by further preventing and reducing the illicit trade and export of the country’s cultural objects”, Julien Anfruns said, when presenting the Egyptian Red List in Cairo.

Read more here http://icom.museum/press-releases/press-release/article/icom-publishes-a-new-emergency-red-list-the-emergency-red-list-of-egyptian-cultural-objects-at-risk-1.html

More on El Hibeh

Article in the Sunday Times, London, March 25 2012

Article in the Sunday Times, London, March 25 2012

Looters hole

East Wall. Looter's cut through east town wall. Note SCA inspection delegation in background descending from the tell to the eastern cemetery to examine looted tombs there.

El Hibeh. East town wall before (above) and after (below) looting.

El Hibeh. East town wall before (above) and after (below) looting.