SHOCKING PHOTOS REVEAL EXTENT
OF DESTRUCTION AT ANTINOOPOLIS
SHOCKING new photos taken by archaeologists reveal the extent of looting and destruction at Antinoopolis in Egypt.
These shocking images, provided to us by an archaeological source, prove claims by experts in Germany and Egypt that local villagers are engaged in "systematic destruction" of the ruins of the sacred city built by Emperor Hadrian to honor his beloved Antinous.
This blog broke the news on Friday of WIDESPREAD PLUNDERING AT ANTINOOPOLIS which was built at the spot where Antinous died in the Nile in October 130 AD. The city flourished for centuries ... but its sad ruins are being looted by residents now .
Experts say Antinoopolis is the latest example of a widespread LOOTING EPIDEMIC that is sweeping Egypt all up and down the Nile Valley. Under the guise of "clearing farm land" or "expanding cemeteries" villagers are in fact plundering archaeological sites.
These photos, annotated by date, prove that looting has been going on at Antinoopolis since at least last October.
The images show village children armed with digging tools who are sent out by their families to dig for buried treasure. Experts point out that these tools are specifically for digging ... not tilling fields.
The German/Italian archaeologists working at the site say that villagers sneak out at night to pillage freshly-excavated digs while the experts are asleep. Next morning, the archaeologists find only rubble where their painstakingly cleared dig was going on.
One photo shows how Moslem graves have been placed on top of the ruins of the city's walls.
In Islamic Egypt, graves are inviolable and cannot be removed ... but families can use them to gain access to treasures.
The photos also show how the last traces of the mighty Hippodrome, a chariot racing track modeled on the Circus Maximus of Rome, has been partially bulldozed to make way for "graves."
Monica Hanna, a researcher with the University of Humboldt in Berlin, says the construction of cemeteries is often a cover to dig up antiquities.
"We are losing the archaeological sites forever. If a home is built, the state can later remove it and retrieve the land. But once the dead are buried, it is impossible to do so," explained Hanna.
Hanna launched a "Save Antinoopolis" campaign in order to shed light on the crisis facing the important archaeological site.
She and others are circulating the shocking photos to authorities in Egypt and experts around the world in a frantic effort to save what can still be salvaged.