Friday, September 5, 2014

Egyptian Military Dictatorship Botches Pyramid Restoration Work

The Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara was built by the famous builder Imhotep and dates back to the 27th century BC and is 100 years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza. In 2011, a British team was working to restore the structure and reportedly prevented a cave in with a huge inflatable balloon. Here is an account of the amazing project. Then funding was cut. Now (Katie Spicer, 'Ancient Egypt: World's Oldest Pyramid 'Ruined' by Restorers' International Business News, September 4, 2014), Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities, Mamdouh Eldamaty, is under fire after rehiring a company named Shurbagy for restoration of the pyramid after the firm caused damage and major deterioration to the very same structure in an earlier botched job. Shurbagy is accused by critics of causing serious damage and the collapse of a section of the Step Pyramid. Critics add that the company had no experience in restoring archaeological sites and that all six prior contracts for archaeological projects are under investigation. However, Eldamaty just gave it a new and major contract. See Peter Tompa, 'Egyptian Military Dictatorship Botches Pyramid Restoration Work' for comment. Our hero asks:
Is the Egyptian state and its supporters in the archaeological lobby really interested in conservation or control?
But surely this is about lack of control, just like there appears to be little accountability in our own government for gross negligence, as shown by the response to the debacle over the rollout of the Obamacare website and billions wasted or lost in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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