Villagers in Manshiet Dahshut – 25 miles south of Cairo – have dug new tombs close to Egypt’s oldest pyramids of Dahshur, reported The Guardian, adding the site in which tombs have appeared is protected land.
“We want to bury the dead,” said Ahmed Rageb, a carpenter who buried his cousin in the annexe told The Guardian. “The old cemetery is full. And there is no other place to bury my family.”
There are more than 1,000 illegal tombs, said the report.
Dahshur’s chief archeologist, Mohamed Youssef, said: “What happened was crazy.”
“They came and took space for about 20 generations.”
According to some residents, people who have lived and died in the area have the right to be buried in Dahshur. However, Youssef argues that some have other intentions, including looting.
“Some of them have a real need for the tombs for their families,” said Youssef. “But when you have 1,000 people, some of them will want to do illegal excavation.”
Nigel Hetherington, a British archeologist told The Guardian that he documented dozens of new illegal establishments on historical sites between the capital and Dahshur following President Hosni Mubarak’s fall in 2011.
According to the report, people claiming they needed tombs to bury their relatives started building on pyramid land illegally, adding inspectors of the site reported it to the police but nothing was done about it.
“No one demolished their tombs because the government is so weak,” Youssef told The Guardian. “So the other people realized that there is no punishment.”