Friday, November 14, 2014

Story of Step Pyramid (8): Engineers Syndicate - Step Pyramid restoration must be resumed immediately

CAIRO: Engineers Syndicate Chairman Tarek al-Nabrawy has called for an immediate resumption of the restoration work at the 4,600-year-old Step Pyramid at Saqqara.

Nabrawy, who presided over a fact-finding committee of 12 architects dispatched Wednesday to Saqqara to examine the pyramid’s condition, called on the government to “instantly amend, remit and pay out the financial allocations assigned to complete the three-year-old restoration work at Egypt’s most ancient pyramid.”

“The committee is in the process of drafting its technical report regarding the condition of the pyramid. It will be made public and presented to the government and the Antiquities Ministry next week,” Nabrawy told The Cairo Post Saturday.

The committee was dispatched in response to a recent media uproar about partial damage caused to the pyramid following an alleged improper renovation carried out by the Shorbagy Company.

The uproar was based on a Facebook post by activist Amer Gamal from the Non-stop Robberies campaign, who criticized Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty for renewing a contract with the same company that was in charge of restoring the pyramid when, according to Gamal, a huge chunk of the pyramid collapsed in 2012.

In response to the allegations, Damaty held a press conference by the pyramid in mid-September, during which he refuted any structural collapse or shoddy repairs to the structure. “All these repetitions that there are fallen stones inside or outside the pyramid are not true,” Damaty was quoted as saying by the state-run Al-Ahram.

The Step Pyramid, a world-heritage site listed by UNESCO, was built in the 26th century B.C. to house the mummy of Pharaoh Djoser, the founder of the Third Dynasty. It is composed of six successively smaller mastabas (benches), one on top of the other.

In late September, UNESCO asked the Antiquities Ministry for a detailed report on the renovation work carried out at the pyramid.  UNESCO has also asked if its own 2011 recommendations on the restoration of the pyramid have been followed,” Tamar Teneishvili, a senior official from UNESCO in Cairo, told The Cairo Post in September.  

The pyramid was badly damaged in a 1992 earthquake, which caused severe damage to the walls of its burial chamber and the descending passages leading to it, in addition to the collapse of a huge chunk of the pyramid’s southern side.
Source: Cairo Post – By/ Rany Mostafa

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