Monday, 5 January 2015

Mixed views about the new site management of the colossal area.

The Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project directed by Dr Hourig Sourouzian has been working at the site of the temple of Amenhotep III for years. This is a conservation project, with an international team,  and the aim of the project is to preserve, reassemble and raise the fragmented remains of statuary and stele and raise  them in their original places . One of the things she was asked to do by Permanent Committee and the Ministry for many years is to provide site protection.

Of course we would all love to wander around the sites and poke into hidden nooks and crannies. But these days, especially with the rise of theft from archaeological sites this is not an option. Indeed the site was one where a theft occurred and thankfully the object recovered but it must make site security an issue close to her heart.

This first stage has been put in place, it consist of wide railings with storyboards (see photos). This gives you a clear view but will prevent theft and damage at the site. I do think it is sad that it is necessary and would appeal to people not to buy antiquities on the open market as many objects have been stolen and to take seriously that we all need to respect and preserve the sites.

Dr Hourig says “This fence protects the south side of the large court of the temple. When completely secured, this will be soon one of the most beautiful open air museums for monumental sculpture, unique in the whole world, and will encourage tourism in the area. Funding for this work was by private funds given by noble donors who want to conserve cultural heritage. We thank them.”

Full details of the site management proposals can be read in the journal ASAE 85, 2011 and Dr Hourig did give a preview at a lecture in Luxor some time ago read my notes here

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