Upheavals in Egypt in 2011 threaten the country's ancient art.
Cairo/New York (mea) Egypt's top archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, warned that the country's antiquity sites were being looted by criminals during the country's current political upheaval.
Hawass said he was no longer able to protect the country's antiquities because of what he called the absence of police protection and because he was the victim of a campaign against him by senior officials at his ministry.
Egypt's antiquities, he warned, were in "grave danger" from criminals. He called on the youth groups behind the 18-day uprising that forced Mubarak to step down on February 11, 2011 to help protect antiquity sites.
"Since Mubarak's resignation, looting has increased all over the country, and our antiquities are in grave danger from criminals trying to take advantage of the current situation," he wrote on his website.
On his website, Hawass listed some two dozen archaeology sites that have been raided by thieves since Mubarak's ouster. The sites include the warehouse used by archaeologist from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art at Dahshour, a pyramids site on the outskirts of Cairo. Hawass also said illegal construction has taken place on antiquity sites.
The list includes ancient Egyptian tombs, Islamic sites and warehouses and are spread across much of the country from the outskirts of Cairo, the Sinai Peninsula and the southernmost city of Aswan.
Copyright 2011 PROMETHEUS
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science, Nr. 165, March, 2011