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Egypt police arrest illegal excavation gang who discovered Graeco-Roman site

Ahram Online , Tuesday 10 Jul 2018
Interior Ministry
Interior Ministry headquarter (Al-Ahram)
Views: 4208
Views: 4208

Egyptian police have arrested a group of men who discovered a Graeco-Roman city in Minya while excavating illegally, Egypt’s interior ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The group of seven people, aged between 18 and 51, were arrested at the excavation site, where they had dug a five-metre-deep hole.

A collection of ancient items were found with them, including 483 copper and bronze coins from the second and third centuries, and a pottery vessel from the Greek era, the statement said.

The ministry said the group has also discovered an ancient city dating back to the Graeco-Roman era extending about two kilometres across, and featuring many tombs carved in rock, a number of columns, a Graeco-Roman church, and a cross.

The ministry said the unearthed items and the site are genuine. 

Excavating without a permit is illegal in Egypt; antiquities from illegal sites often find their way onto the black market.

In some cases, illegal excavations have turned up important finds such as the October 2014 discovery of a temple from the reign of New Kingdom King Thutmose III.

In a different incident, seven residents of the Giza district were arrested after they discovered huge limestone blocks engraved with hieroglyph in the course of illegally excavating beneath their home.

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