tisdag, februari 01, 2011

Egypten: "Plundrarna svärmade som gräshoppor...."

En brittisk tidning har en sällsynt
ögonvittnesberättelse från det stora
arkeologiska området omkring Saqqara,
Memphis och Abusir ett par mil söder
om Kairo. Det tycks vara hårdast drabbat
av plundring och förstörelse.
Vakter och turistpoliser flydde från området
i fredags och lämnade över till plundrarna.
Först igår tycks armén ha återtagit
kontrollen. Arkeologer och vakter försöker
nu inventera vad som försvunnit och för-

Hundreds of thieves yesterday swarmed like

locusts over a revered site in the shadow of

the pyramids - taking advantage of the chaos

to ransack the House of the Temple of Osiris.

The raid came after mummy skulls were stolen

from Cairo's world-famous Egyptian National

Museum 20 miles north. One horrified temple

worker said: "It started when a villager came

down from pyramids shouting,

'I've found treasure - I'm rich!'


"Within hours thieves were swarming over the

site, digging and smashing their way into tombs

with picks and shovels.

"There was nothing we could do to stop them."

The worker went on:

It was worst at the sites below the pyramids

marking the tombs of the pharaohs Neferefre

and Sahure, which are among the oldest in

Egypt dating back to 2475 BC.

The bandits were smashing their way into the

rooms known as 'magazines' where the

treasures are stored.


They find most rooms empty but have been

smashing and tossing priceless stones covered

in ancient script over their shoulders as they

work. Some are taking away irreplaceable items,

fragments and relics.

The scale of the devastation is vast - virtually

everything here has been damaged and stripped.

It's happening at sites all over the country.

Egypt is being robbed of its most precious

treasure its history - and Mubarak and his

men are watching it happen.


The gangs fired shots at the handful of site

staff who begged them to stop. Stone carvings

and fragments of ancient friezes and statues

are among spoils loaded into a steady stream

of trucks.

Yesterday army units finally arrived - firing

warning shots to scatter looters. But thugs

quickly reformed into organised gangs and

were soon knee-deep in tombs, trying to

smash their way into long-protected

underground chambers.


Archaeologists inspecting the desecration

in Abusir fought back tears last night as

they said the cost was "impossible to


The scenes of destruction were mirrored

a few miles south on the ancient site at

Saqqara - and at an antiquities warehouse

at Quantara.

Three thousand stored Roman and Byzantine

artefacts were pillaged - and others smashed.

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