An Egyptian independent archaeologist has warned on Friday that Antinoupolis, one of the country’s largest archaeological sites located in Minya, is being “destroyed systematically” by residents amid a complete failure from the government to protect the site.
Monica Hanna, a researcher with the University of Humboldt in Berlin, told Egypt Independent that she received information from archaeologists who work at the site of the ancient Roman Antinoupolis, also known as Sheikh Abada, saying the site faces grave danger.
Hanna said that some of the damages occurred to the site, saying that the area near the Ramses II temple has been bulldozed and leveled. She added that the northwestern corner of the walled city has been bulldozed and for agricultural use.
The case of Antinoupolis was brought to light last December when some media outlets reported that the site was witnessing fierce excavation and demolition campaigns in an attempt to reclaim the land for agricultural use.
Some residents reportedly demolished a large area of archaeological ruins and cemeteries made of mud in the Roman cemetery and prepared the area for planting after looting the site.
Hanna, however, told Egypt Independent in a phone call that the situation is getting worse, similar to what has happened to the archaeological site of Dahshur. In January, residents began digging a cemetery on a piece of land in the vicinity of the Temple Valley in Dahshur, an area that has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1994.
"There is a systematic construction of cemeteries on archaeological sites and the scenario is repeated everywhere," she said, adding that neither the state nor the police are protecting such areas.
She also said that the construction of cemeteries is often a cover to dig up antiquities.