...
EgyptSearch Forums Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | directory login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» EgyptSearch Forums » Kemet » Looting Egypt: Abu Sir Al-Maleq The state of looting in Abu Sir Al-Maleq …

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Looting Egypt: Abu Sir Al-Maleq The state of looting in Abu Sir Al-Maleq …
Ish Gebor
Member
Member # 18264

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ish Gebor   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Looting Egypt: Abu Sir Al-Maleq

The state of looting in Abu Sir Al-Maleq in Beni Suef has reached an alarming level


By Monica Hanna and Salima Ikram

The looting of antiquities sites, both urban and rural, is continuing throughout Egypt, contributing to the dramatic loss of the country’s heritage. Unfortunately, with police and military presence at archaeological and urban sites still insufficient, there is no one to stop the looting.

The increase in looting is allied to the worsening economic situation in Egypt, coupled with the lack of security. People still think that pharaonic sites are filled with gold and treasures, just waiting to be dug up, so now, with no one to stop them, more people are looking for the nearest place where they can go dig for gold, then other artefacts that they can sell for immediate revenue.

This idea that gold is readily available is an old and mistaken one; few pharaonic era tombs had a lot of gold, and most of those had been robbed at least 200 years ago, if not longer.

Recently, sites in Beni Suef in particular have suffered acutely from looters; in fact, if one asks to rent a car to go to Beni Suef, the drivers casually ask, “Oh, you are going to buy antiquities. I know someone who can help you,” as we know from personal experience. Abu Sir Al-Maleq is now considered the best place to buy “coloured sarcophagi”.

In most of the public cafés in the city centre, and particularly in Al-Wasta, antiquities dealing is a common daily practice. All one has to do is to sit in a café, look like a stranger and wait to be approached by someone who has artefacts for sale. Much of this material is probably coming from two important sites in the area, namely Al-Hiba and Abu Sir Al-Maleq.

The police has reported several cases of illicit digging at both sites. The modern village of Abu Sir Al-Maleq is of approximately 20,000 inhabitants, according to the 2006 national consensus, and lies about 10 km from Meidum. The archaeological site lies right behind the village’s church and is composed of 500 acres of land that was inhabited from at least 3250 BCE until about 700 CE, containing the entire history of Egypt until just after the Arab Conquest.

The identity of the people carrying out the looting is not certain, but they seem to be from every walk of life. In addition to local looters, organised gangs from other places in the Nile Valley are also digging at the site. Once gently undulating sand, the site is now a pock-marked lunar landscape with dense scatters of mummy wrappings pulled off bodies, and huge piles of bones. Wrapped limbs and heads of people who were buried here more than 2000 years ago now lie dismembered and scattered about the site. Obviously, several artefacts have been recovered from here; the pillagers hide their loot on-site in convenient tombs and covered by desiccated reeds and maize stalks.

In addition to coloured sarcophagi and coffins that are offered for sale in the area, shabtis (funerary faience figurines), amulets, glazed ceramics, pots, bead necklaces, bead bracelets, and chunks of inscription, hacked out of the limestone walls, are on offer. Dealers of various levels are clearly coming to buy objects here, and then taking them to their stores or distribution points in both rural and urban locations. The smaller objects are of higher prices because they can be smuggled easier outside of Egypt while a complete sarcophagus with its mummy might be of a lower price due to the difficulty in its transportation.

All of the sites that are being looted are suffering, as objects are being ripped undocumented from their contexts, without which the knowledge that they can impart is greatly diminished. The case of Abu Sir Al-Maleq is particularly tragic as it has never been fully excavated. The site has connections to Osiris, god of the dead, and was of great religious significance.

One of the most ancient sections, containing the graves of the Nagada II (3250-3050 BCE) era, was excavated by Otto Rubensohn in 1902-04. He also found 18th Dynasty (1550-1070 BCE) burials as well as priestly graves of the Late Period (712-332 BCE). A black sarcophagus belonging to Pakhus, currently in the Meidum storage house, has been found in the area. In 1905-06 Georg Möller also found burials of the Second Intermediate/Hyksos period (1640-1532 BCE). The archaeology of the Hyksos period is limited, with the majority of evidence coming from the Delta. Thus, any site with evidence of the history of that era, particularly one from this part of Egypt, is a treasure.

In addition to these tombs, a temple of the 30th Dynasty was also found near the village mosque. Caliph Marwan Al-Ja’di (744-751) of the Umayyad Dynasty is also said to have died very close to the monastery of Abu Sir Al-Maleq; a vase belonging to him said to have been found in the area is currently on display in the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo. Although some archaeological work has been carried out at Abu Sir el-Melq, enormous parts of it have never been scientifically investigated and it was a site filled with potential to better understand the history of Egypt, particularly in its very early and late phases.


Egyptian state bodies, civil society organisations and citizens all need to act immediately and work together for the protection of the country’s archaeological heritage. The different stakeholders of Egyptian heritage need to get actively involved in the study, protection and preservation of this heritage. Egypt’s future lies in its past, and with its loss, lies a dim future with lesser opportunities for the coming generations.

The potential Egypt has through its palimpsest of culture is enormous; its unique assets should provide economic and nationalistic values for its citizens. Each object that goes on the antiquities market loses its context and so loses its own history and that of the period it represents. It is like losing different pieces of a massive jigsaw.

It is a tragedy that we will not know more about those who lived and died here, in Abu Sir Al-Maleq; their beliefs and their lives. Only salvage archaeology can help at this point, and should be encouraged, or we will lose all evidence of Egypt’s rich past in this area.


https://dailynewsegypt.com/2013/06/05/looting-egypt-abu-sir-al-maleq/
Posts: 18871 | From: pAsidaw SIGILLUM SECRETUM | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ish Gebor
Member
Member # 18264

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ish Gebor   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Silent Victims of Grave Robbers: Children and Mummies Suffer from Extensive Looting in Egypt

The ancient Egyptian civilization lasted for a few millennia. The people who created the unforgettable culture are now buried in the sands of the desert. The number of cemeteries they left behind is huge, and all of them are in danger of looters. The ancient graves do not just hold the remains of people from long ago, however, more and more victims are added to the graveyards every year.

A report published by Live Science says that more than 25 children employed by antiquities gangs died in 2015 in the shafts in Abusir el-Malek. The children were forced to work in very dangerous conditions. But this is not a unique case - it has been happening on a large scale since 2011, when the Egyptian revolution changed the economy of Egypt and people started to search for different ways to earn money. It is unknown how many children have died during the last five years.

 -

Piles of human bones in Abusir el-Malek cemetery. ( Egypt’s Heritage Task Force )

The situation in Egypt is very complicated and distressing as many lives are lost. For example, two antiquities guards - Mustafa Ali, 36, and Asrawy, 56, who tried to protect ancient sites were gunned down by thieves scoping out tombs. They were murdered on February 20, 2016.

Apart from the losses of human life, the tombs are not only looted, but also damaged. Mummies have been left out in the sun and completely robbed of their treasures. It is also impossible to count how many ancient remains became victims of these horrific practices.


 -

A close-up of a mummy's head at the Bahariya Oasis. (Egypt’s Heritage Task Force)

Pictures presented by Egypt's Heritage Task Force show children who work in the village Abusir el-Malek, located to the south of Cairo. The photos present the children who carry artifacts and work around the pits and shafts. They search for treasures between the bones of the ancient mummies. It all happens without any respect to the burials and with a huge risk to the children’s lives. According to Monica Hanna , an Egyptologist working with Egypt's Heritage Task Force: “Children have been used primarily to reach small burial shafts and tunnels. Unfortunately, many children have lost their lives in the process.”

Hanna suggests that very little money from the sale of artifacts goes to the children or their families. Most of the profits go to the antiquities dealers and the middlemen who smuggle the artifacts out of Egypt. Monica Hanna described the difficult situation, which has taken place in Egypt since 2011, in a paper published in the book “ Countering Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods ” (ICOM, 2015).


As Hanna told Live Science , the buyers of Egyptian antiquities should know that:

"the object you buy does not only have a child's blood on it, but also [that] looting activities have completely destroyed the site similarly to what ISIS does to other archaeological sites in the region."

As Hanna told Live Science , the buyers of Egyptian antiquities should know that:

"the object you buy does not only have a child's blood on it, but also [that] looting activities have completely destroyed the site similarly to what ISIS does to other archaeological sites in the region."


Ancient Egyptian mummies found floating in sewage water in Egypt
Social Networks Aid Army of Tomb Raiders in China

According to documents from the US Census Bureau presented by Live Science, more than $143 million worth of artifacts had been exported from Egypt to the United States. They have been sold to private collectors, not to be displayed in a museum. Some of the artifacts were sold at auction houses, art galleries, etc. It is believed that more than 20 kilograms (44.09 lbs.) of ancient gold have been smuggled to USA from Egypt since 2011. This is a huge increase compared to the period from 1998 and 2010, when it was less than 2 kilograms (4.41 lbs.) During the first five months of 2016, artifacts worth about 26 million dollars were exported from Egypt to the USA.


Moreover, it is almost impossible to prove any single artifact that arrives in the US has come from a looted site. The US customs don't check all shipments and the middlemen make the antiquities look like they are a part of the legitimate market. The artifacts arrive to the USA clean and restored and packed in with forged paperwork that makes it seem like Egyptians gave permission for their export.
Monica Hanna has been awarded by many different institutions for her work. One of them, the SAFE Beacon Award , was received for her exemplary efforts in shedding light on the looting situation in Egypt. Hanna was given this acknowledgement in 2013, when she was already famous for her fight to protect the ancient Egyptian sites. Hanna is a voice of the ancient Egyptians - she risks her life to save the heritage of the country near the Nile.


http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/silent-victims-grave-robbers-children-and-mummies-suffer-extensive-looting-020937
Posts: 18871 | From: pAsidaw SIGILLUM SECRETUM | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ish Gebor
Member
Member # 18264

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ish Gebor   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hanna, Monica, 2015. Documenting Looting Activities in Post-2011 Egypt. Countering Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods: The Global Challenge of Protecting the World’s Heritage. Paris: ICOM, pp. 47-63.

https://www.academia.edu/20159427/Hanna_Monica_2015._Documenting_Looting_Activities_in_Post-2011_Egypt._Countering_Illicit_Traffic_in_Cultural_Goods_The_Global_Challenge_of_Protect ing_the_World_s_Heritage._Paris_ICOM_pp._47-63

Posts: 18871 | From: pAsidaw SIGILLUM SECRETUM | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Clyde Winters
Member
Member # 10129

Rate Member
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Clyde Winters   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Great post

--------------------
C. A. Winters

Posts: 12259 | From: Chicago | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ish Gebor
Member
Member # 18264

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ish Gebor   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
^ I am not done yet. This is the special Abu Sir Al-Maleq
thread.

It appears the place is some special kind of spot, for some odd reason.

Posts: 18871 | From: pAsidaw SIGILLUM SECRETUM | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Clyde Winters
Member
Member # 10129

Rate Member
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Clyde Winters   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ish Gebor:
^ I am not done yet. This is the special Abu Sir Al-Maleq
thread.

It appears the place is some special kind of spot, for some odd reason.

It was a major religious center.

--------------------
C. A. Winters

Posts: 12259 | From: Chicago | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ish Gebor
Member
Member # 18264

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ish Gebor   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
@Clyde Winters,


What else is known about the religious center, in terms of demographics etc.?


The case of Abu Sir Al-Maleq is particularly tragic as it has never been fully excavated. The site has connections to Osiris, god of the dead, and was of great religious significance.

https://dailynewsegypt.com/2013/06/05/looting-egypt-abu-sir-al-maleq/

Posts: 18871 | From: pAsidaw SIGILLUM SECRETUM | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Clyde Winters
Member
Member # 10129

Rate Member
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Clyde Winters   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ish Gebor:
@Clyde Winters,


What else is known about the religious center, in terms of demographics etc.?


The case of Abu Sir Al-Maleq is particularly tragic as it has never been fully excavated. The site has connections to Osiris, god of the dead, and was of great religious significance.

https://dailynewsegypt.com/2013/06/05/looting-egypt-abu-sir-al-maleq/

There is nothing that I can see in terms of demographics for Abusir, except for the iconography which does not reflect ethnicity because they were all of Black people.

You may want to check out the publications of Czech Institute of Egyptology https://cegu.ff.cuni.cz/en/research/electronic-publications/


But we can see is that there was no change in the population until after the Greco-Roman invasions. It would appear that even during the People of the Sea invasion the population remained stable.

--------------------
C. A. Winters

Posts: 12259 | From: Chicago | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ish Gebor
Member
Member # 18264

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ish Gebor   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
^ I already have that source in my catalog.

Thanks anyway.

Posts: 18871 | From: pAsidaw SIGILLUM SECRETUM | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | EgyptSearch!

(c) 2015 EgyptSearch.com

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3