Today Ethan talked about the archaeological site of Heit el-Ghurab, the Lost City of the Pyramids. After learning more about it, it was discussed how the Royal Administrative Building in the site had been subject to damage in some places and complete destruction in others. I found this intriguing and wondered whether or not this issue of the destruction of potential archaeological discoveries was present in modern day society. My thought was that due to the policies set in place to protect discoveries and potential discoveries in areas like Egypt that these things would not happen, at least in those areas.
Earlier this month Daily News Egypt published an article on the discovery of two new mummies in a village near Minya. The mummies had been found in tombs, but unfortunately they had been found in their sarcophagi floating in sewage. These conditions led to the disintegration of the mummies, which are now in desperate need of restoration which will still be futile in restoring the mummies to their former glory. The reason for the destruction of these mummies was believed to be due to illegal digging by members of the village who discarded the mummies because of restrictions present within the country’s laws. Now the mummies have lost much integrity and possible cultural revelations that could have been made may be lost forever with the destruction of these finds.
Seeing as destruction to culturally significant pieces such as mummies is still present today, it made me wonder just how many pieces have been destroyed or damaged beyond recognition. Just exactly how many potential discoveries have been permanently prevented due to ignorance and a lack of care have there been, and how much information have we lost? If it still does not seem to be uncommon today, just imagine how common it must have been in the old world. So many ancient cities and clues to the past must have been destroyed by the building of new cities, by war, and by unintentional ignorance, and with them so many possibilities to learn about our world’s culture throughout the ages. For all we know currently, the missing links and gaps through history as we understand and see it today may never be uncovered to us. It is quite possible that all remnants of these gaps may have been destroyed by simple carelessness. It makes me wonder how archaeologists must feel, wondering if that crucial piece to the puzzle they may be looking for could potentially be forever lost and never to be discovered.
The Daily News Egypt article can be found here if you are interested: