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Extensive Looting Continues at Abydos, Egypt

Kate Phizackerley’s News from the Valley of the Kings website brought this local report on the Egyptian Dreams forum of continued illegal excavations at Abydos to my attention. What was reported today is chilling:

When the American mission does get here they will be shocked to see the extent of the illegal digs. There are several within line of sight of the excavation they were working on by the walls of Shunet el Zabib (both on the flat desert area as well as the mastaba field). Also there are many more within a stones throw of their excavation site in the mastaba field. I would respectfully suggest that instead of a season of excavation they make it a season of consolidation and rescue. I have not been to my land for 3/4 days for various reasons and I dread what I will see when I go later this morning.

If this continues there will be nothing here for researchers and archaeologists, it will be a baron sea of undulating red pot shards like the red desert to the north.

Sounds like it could take more than one season to record the damage and stabilize what remains.

The idea of Abydos (one of the most extensive and fundamental sites in all of Egypt, burial place of the earliest pharaohs, home of the last royal pyramids and astonishingly gorgeous temples, and reservoir of incredible history known and unknown) as a barren sea is frankly horrifying.  Obviously, I am hoping that the local reporter is tending towards exaggeration, but considering the problems at sites all over Egypt it unfortunately doesn’t seem likely.

 

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The Art of Counting is dedicated to the memory of Margery Meilleur, who first taught me to view history through the eyes of the images we create.