Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Conflicting Reports About Abusir: "Nothing Has Been Stolen" v. "Targeted By Thieves"

Starkly contrasting reports have been given about the condition of archaeological sites at Abusir. Abusir is home to a Fifth Dynasty royal necropolis containing over a dozen pyramids, including those of Sahure and Nefirirkare.

Zahi Hawass, newly appointed Minister for Archaeology, told Fox News today: “Everything is safe at the site of Abusir." “Nothing has been stolen from Abusir.”
(Source: www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/01/31/egypts-treasures-saved-looters-vandals/#ixzz1CegBUuMY)

But Miroslav Barta, a leading archaeologist who conducted the first satellite mapping of the pyramid fields of Abusir, yesterday reported the following for Czech Position:
"Archeological objects in the pyramid field of Abusir uncovered by Czech expeditions over the last 50 years were also targeted by thieves. The extent of the damage caused will have to be examined later because organized gangs are operating in the desert both night and day. Although these gangs’ raids are haphazard, it’s almost certain that artifacts of immeasurable historical value have been destroyed or damaged." Professor Barta added that "[t]he information about the state of the monuments in the pyramid field came from Egyptian colleagues who had been shot at by gangs of raiders."
(Source: www.ceskapozice.cz/en/news/foreign-affairs/czech-egyptologist-ancient-egyptian-sites-damaged-during-unrest)

Meanwhile Nick Parker, Chief Foreign Correspondent at The Sun, today reported from Abusir that archaeology in the area had been hit by thieves.
(Source: www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3383389/SCHOLARS-fear-losing-Egypts-antiquities-as-museums-are-looted-in-revolt-against-tyrant.html)

The reports by Barta and Parker support information contained in an email posted earlier on this blog by Sarah H. Parcak, Assistant Professor at the Department of History and Anthropology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The email described archaeological damage at the Abusir site.