After the January 2011 revolution in Egypt, Professor and Archaeologist Carol Redmount of U.C. Berkeley began contacting friends and colleagues in the country to get some updates about their safety and welfare. In 2001, she and a team of archaeologists with the University had conducted excavations at the ancient site of El Hibeh about 180 miles south of Cairo, a site that evidenced occupation from Pharaonic times through the early Islamic periods. Their last season was completed in 2009, and for a variety of reasons they were not able to return. Now, there were concerns about the state of the archaeological remains at the El Hibeh site. She had been informed that there was extensive looting, and that the situation there was “very bad”.
“Very bad” may have been an understatement. When she and a team finally returned to begin work at the site again in February, 2012, the scene was more than disheartening. They found hundreds of looters’ pits, exposed tombs, destroyed walls, and even human remains, including remnants of dismembered mummies and strewn mummy wraps, littering the site like trash. Read more.
El Hibeh archaeological site on the east bank of the Nile lies in a particularly impoverished area of Egypt, three hour’s drive south of Cairo. For the past 9 months a gang has been systematically and openly looting the site while the local police seemingly turn a blind eye.
The remains at the site date from the late Pharaonic, Graeco-Roman, Coptic and early Islamic periods – approximately 11th century BCE to eighth century CE. El Hibeh is of special importance because it is one of very few relatively intact town sites remaining in Egypt. It contains extensive archaeological deposits dating to the Third Intermediate Period, Egypt’s last “Dark Age” and an era particularly poorly known archaeologically. Read more.