Archaeological Looting Crisis in Egypt

Sunday, January 30, 2011
Sarah H. Parcak, Assistant Professor at the Department of History and Anthropology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham reports a crisis brewing at major archaeological sites in Egypt. The United States government and others must keep a careful watch at their borders for any ancient Egyptian artifacts. Professor Parcak's email appears below:

"Verified by Mohammad Megahed: Immense damages to Abusir and Saqqara, all magazines and tombs which were sealed were entered last night. Only Imhotep Museum and adjacent central magazines protected by the military. In Abusir all tombs opened. large gangs digging day and night everywhere"

The damage is *vast*.

It seems that some of the storage magazines at South Saqqara and Abusir have been looted-hard to say how much was taken and the extent of the robbing. SCA representatives are only today able to check on the museums/storage magazines, but early reports suggest major looting. If you all could please contact anyone who can help and put them on "high alert" for Old Kingdom remains and Egyptian antiquities in general, and please spread the word to law enforcement officials worldwide. Egyptian looters (who may be encouraged by outside Egypt entities) may try to use the general confusion to get things out of the country.

Other bad news: prisons in Qena and Armant (next to Luxor) have been emptied, so people fear major looting will occur in that region.

Reports still abound for major looting in the Alexandria Museum---but those reports are hard to confirm. The violence has been worse in Alexandria, and there have been few police reports there."