Saturday, 22 November 2008
Neolithic site in Fayum under threat
The northern shore of Birket Qarun in the Fayum is rich with Neolithic sites that can be up to 9000 years old. It is one of the few places in Egypt where we have remains of largely untouched areas of Neolithic settlement, storage areas and other activities. Survey and excavations that have been carried out at these sites are helping scholars piece together what Neolithic life in ancient Egypt was like, as no other area in Egypt has as yet offered so much information. But, as is usually the case with important and rare sites in Egypt, this unique Neolithic landscape is under threat from ubiquitous investors who hope to create a series of touristic resorts along the northern shores of the lake. According to what I recently heard, the investors are hiring consultants from the Red-sea resort of Hurgada to replicate the horror that is Hurgada along the shores of the lake. Besides the fact that they couldn't have chosen a worse resort site to replicate, the actions of these investors will surely destory this rare, quite extraordinary landscape, eradicate any traces of Neolithic activity in the area and do away with its peaceful nature. It is hoped that something can eventually be done to stop this frightening encroachment before its too late - but then again it's difficult when money, politics and greed are involved.