The Abu Sir Al-Malaq archeological site South of Cairo, looted since 2011
(photos: Egypt’s Heritage Task Force)
Sunday, August 10, 2014
News: Egypt’s Heritage Crisis
The looting of Egypt’s cultural heritage is reaching epidemic proportions with even some major sites now not left untouched, writes David Tresilian from Paris
The breakdown in security that followed the collapse of the Iraqi regime in March 2003 led to the widespread looting of archaeological sites up and down the country, together with the looting of the National Museum and Archives in the capital Baghdad. The ongoing conflict in Syria has seen a similar collapse of security in many parts of the country, with predictable effects on the country’s heritage.
Now it seems that Egypt too may be suffering from the effects of the breakdown in security that has taken place over the past three years and since the 25 January Revolution. While no one is suggesting that this breakdown has led to the kind of losses seen in other Arab countries, where heritage sites and institutions have in some cases been badly damaged or even partially destroyed, the situation of even archaeological sites close to Cairo is becoming more and more worrying.
It is not only archaeological sites that have come under threat, since two of the highest-profile cases of damage to the country’s heritage in the years since the 25 January Revolution have had to do with institutions. The looting that took place at the Malawi Museum last summer drew attention to the threat that the breakdown of security in some parts of the country could represent to provincial museums, while this year’s bombing of the Cairo Security Directorate and with it the destruction of the façade and much of the interior of the nearby Islamic Museum indicated the threat to even the capital’s cultural institutions.... Read More.