Cultural Postcards + Near East

Heritage: Egypt’s Step Pyramid at risk of ‘catastrophic collapse’
Activists in Egypt expressed anger after Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities assigned a company, which oversaw the collapse of a major part of the 4,600-year-old Saqqara Pyramid, to resume its restoration reported.

Egypt’s Step Pyramid at risk of ‘catastrophic collapse’
The company, called Shurbagy, has been working for nine years and 
has not been successful in any of the six projects it has worked on, 
said Amir Gamal, representative of the ‘Non-stop Robberies’
 movement [Credit: Al-Masry Media]

In statements to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Amir Gamal, representative of the ‘Non-Stop Robberies’ movement said the Minister of Antiquities gave orders to resume the restoration of the Saqqara Pyramid by the same company that had been responsible for major deterioration, including the collapse of a section of the pyramid, during earlier restoration attempts.

Shurbagy, the company assigned, has been in business for nine years and has not seen much success in any of the six projects it undertook, Gamal told Al-Masry Al-Youm, adding that the company is currently under investigation.

“The company has never restored any archaeological site. All projects it had were to create modern construction at archaeological sites,” Gamal explained.

Egypt’s Step Pyramid at risk of ‘catastrophic collapse’
The pyramid, which is more than 4,600 years old, was first built by the ancient 
 Egyptians and was constructed from limestone for Pharaoh Joser, who ruled 
from 2686–2613 BC [Credit: [Credit: Wales News Service]

“Technically, the company and officials of the Supreme Council of Antiquities committed a full-fledged crime. New walls were built outside the pyramid as if the pyramid were a modern construction, which is opposite to international standards of restoration, which prevents adding more than 5 percent of construction to antiquities if necessary. Adding the modern construction is a large pressure on the decaying pyramid, which threatens catastrophe.”

The Saqqara Pyramid, also known as the step pyramid, dates back to 4,600 years ago during the time of the Pharaoh Joser.

In 2011, restoration attempts commenced after fears that the Saqqara Pyramid faced ‘imminent’ collapse as a result of a 1992 earth quake. A British team deployed giant ‘air-bags’ to support the ceiling of the Pyramid as the government initiated plans for permanent repairs. However, the 2011 revolution and an economic crisis saw the restoration halted in 2012.

Source: Egyptian Streets [September 01, 2014]

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