Three dozen members of an armed gang invaded and stole the contents of five tombs from the Qubbet Al-Hawa
(The Dome of The Winds) ancient Egyptian necropolis on Aswan's west bank.
The lack of security in Egypt continues to negatively affect archaeological sites, especially those located in remote areas.
The Qubbet Al-Hawa necropolis is named after the domed tomb of a Muslim Sufi cleric located at the crest of the hill. The area consists of a large collection of rock-hewn tombs of ancient Egyptian nobles who ruled Aswan throughout the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms.
The tombs’ walls are decorated with vivid paintings as a sort of biography that depicts scenes of its owners’ daily life as well as their different titles. It also includes of hieroglyphic texts showing the noblemen’s journey to Africa.
"This is not the first time to have such an intrusion," an archaeologist in Aswan tells Ahram Online, who insisted on anonymity, fearing the gang members would attempt to assassinate him.
Our source reveals that since March the necropolis has been subjected to looting, as the archaeologists discovered on a routine tour.
Since Egypt's 2011 revolution there are no longer permanent Tourism and Antiquities Police security guards. Furthermore, antiquities guards are not well-armed to stand against these gangs of looters.
"We are asking the police to guard the necropolis permanently in order to protect a very distinguished archaeological site," assert the archaeologists.
Ministry of State for Antiquities archaeology consultant, Mohamed Hamada tells Ahram Online that the Aswan inspectorate reported the case to the police, who came the site, but the criminal still escaped. The ministry, he went on, sent an archaeological committee to inspect the invaded tombs in order to report on any loss.
Investigations are now taking place, said Hamad, and more procedures will be taken to protect the highly-distinguished ancient Egyptian site.
Former head of the ancient Egyptian sector at the ministry Mohamed El-Beiyali tells Ahram Online that the Qubbet Al-Hawa necropolis is a virgin site, which has not yet been totally excavated and its looting is a great loss, not only to humanity but to ancient Egyptian history.
The walls of these tombs, he added, bear scenes that relate the development of life of the nobles along the ancient Egyptian history and their relation with Africa