Update: Damage to Egyptian Antiquities

Looters have moved against other museums and sites in Egypt with some success.

A group of looters attacked a warehouse at the Qantara Museum near the city of Ismailia on the Suez Canal that contained 3,000 objects from the Roman and Byzantine periods, a source at the tourism police said.

Many of the objects had been found in Sinai by the Israelis after they occupied the peninsula during the 1967 war with Egypt, and had only been recently returned to Egypt.

A worker at the warehouse said the looters had said they were searching for gold. The worker told them there was no gold but they continued to pillage the storehouse, smashing some items and taking others.

An archaeologist said warehouses near the pyramids of Saqqara and Abu Sir were also looted.

Read more here. While looters have targeted ancient sites and tombs for thousands of years, one consequence of archaeology is the concentration of many artifacts in relatively few locations. Security problems at just one facility can put a lot of our ancient heritage at risk.

I visited the Israeli Antiquities Authority storage warehouses with the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation team in 2009. Hundreds of thousands of artifacts are stored in one place, making it an excellent research center. Still, I couldn’t but help think what might happen to so many priceless objects if something went wrong. May such a loss never happen.

Apparently (hopefully) Egypt’s archaeological treasures throughout the country are well-secured against further attempts.

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About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister in English and Spanish with the North Terrace Church of Christ and participates annually in archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke also leads tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
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