More than two years after the January 2011 Revolution, urban and agricultural encroachment continues to threaten Egypt’s archaeological sites.
The lack of security that overwhelmed the country during and after the revolution has certainly taken its toll. The sanctity of spiritual and archaeological environments have been desecrated, with plundering and destruction by vandals, thieves and neighbouring residents being carried out virtually unchecked.
Well-organised and well-armed gangs of thieves are reportedly plundering archaeological sites, while illegal construction encroaches on and sometimes even covers them.
The rich Islamic site of Istabl Antar in Egypt’s first Islamic capital has been isolated, as have Al-Muizz Street in historic Cairo; the ancient Egyptian necropolis of Dahshour; the Giza Plateau; the New Kingdom site of Matariya; the area of Al-Bordan on the Alexandria-Marsa Matrouh highway and the Hagg Kandil site at Amarna in Minya in Upper Egypt, to mention just a few.
Some building encroachments were removed safely and without damage, but for others help came too late and some areas of historical importance, where genuine objects and important remains are still hidden in the sand, were ruined or looted.