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Coptic archaeological site wrecked

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An archaeological site in Minya was bombed by looters

Looters attempted to hack out this ancient architectural element in Ansana (Photo from Egypt’s Heritage Taskforce Facebook page)

Looters attempted to hack out this ancient architectural element in Ansana
(Photo from Egypt’s Heritage Taskforce Facebook page)

The Minya governorate has been the focus of news during the past month due to the attacks on many of its churches and Coptic monuments. Ever since the politically-fuelled attacks, the media has moved its focus away from the governorate. Sadly however, due to the lack of security, looters of archaeological sites have been targeting the area looking for new spoils.

The latest attack targeted Ansana, a historical Egyptian site believed to have been used as a Coptic monastery. Yet, information about it is scarce. “[The site] was never properly studied and published,” said archaeologist Monica Hanna. The site was bombed with dynamite.

Hanna explained on Facebook: “The rock cut monastic site of Ansana in Eastern Mallawi is being systematically looted. Looters use dynamite at a fourth century church in search of treasures. A lot of the monastic caves probably date to an earlier period where demotic inscriptions are still visible. The whole area is full of Coptic, Syriac and Greek inscriptions that have not been completely studied and documented. The southern monastic community that is built of mud brick is being bulldozed and its western side is taken over by land mafia for agricultural reclamation and is the cause of the Matryria section to be completely lost. The site is at a very high risk of being totally destroyed over the next few months.”

Sadly it seems that these attacks on archaeological sites will continue unless proper security forces are deployed to protect them.


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