ART & CULTURE

Egypt charges 72 for looting, turning archaeological site into parking lot

Gateway to the looted archaeological area. (Supplied)

The Administrative Prosecution court in Egypt has ordered that 72 employees from the archeological sector and a number of security officials in Menoufia governorate to be tried on charges of theft of antiquities and turning the location into a parking lot.

Counselor Mohammed Samir, spokesman for the Administrative Prosecution, said that the persons responsible for the looting are the former director of the archaeological site in the city of Qweisna, the current director of Kafr El-Sheikh Museum and a former security specialist in the Quesna area (and in the present-day at Arish Museum) and the former archaeologist in charge of Qwisna’s stone-pit and currently responsible for the archaeological awareness in Menoufia), 40 archaeological inspectors in the historical hill area of Qweisna quarry and 25 security officials in the archaeological hill area of Qweisna quarries.

He added that the rest of the defendants are the director of the Department of Survey and Property in central delta and the director of the area of Almnofia and Director General of the area of monuments Menoufia.

The prosecution received a complaint from one of the archaeologists responsible for the area of the stone-pits in Quesna regarding the destruction of a large part of the archaeological hill in Quesna from the west side, by lifting millions of meters of archaeological sand that contain the monuments and seizing them.

The value of the possessions amount to five million pounds. It has been allocated to the parking of heavy transport vehicles belonging to one of the factories in the region.

The prosecution began investigations into the case, and ordered the formation of a committee headed by the financial and administrative inspector in the General Court of the province of Menoufia.

The report of the Commission included violations on the archaeological property by raising ancient sands and establishing a road that passes next to the archaeological hill area.

The investigation revealed that the sand contained treasures and monuments, pointing out that the archaeological hill is an ancient cemetery, in which a lot of monuments and coffins of different sizes as well as some gold works were found during the seasonal searches.

The investigations showed that this archaeological hill was treated as a warehouse for the remnants of the factories adjacent to it, under the sight of all those responsible for this archaeological location and without taking any action regarding these violations.
Investigations also revealed the exploitation of the factories adjacent to part of the land owned by the archaeological sites in the western archaeological hill in Quesna as a parking place for heavy transport vehicles belonging to them, and none of the accused took any measures to protect it.

The site in Quesna is one of the most important archaeological spots, and that the region is one of the most unique areas in the center of the delta and the possibility of the existence of archaeological artifacts in the sand, are very high based on the archaeological evidence and the many pieces that were discovered during the previous searches.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 4 April 2018 KSA 19:31 - GMT 16:31
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