Further to my recent posts on the survey at Antinoupolis, the subject of this entry is to highlight some of the quite extensive damage that is occurring at the Roman city and necropolis.
The site has slways formed the focus of forms of looting and destruction for centuries, from 18th century antiquities to the excavation of the site to provide raw materials for gunpowder manufacture in the 19th century. However the sheer scale and extent of the destruction in recent years, and particularly in the last 12 months, has been devastating. Catepillar vehicles are now being used to extact sand from the wadi in the city, exposing and destroying the remains of ancient bridge piers and eroding the archaeology on either side of the wadi. Building around the village of sheikh ebada is being used as an excuse for completely destroying ancient remains. The modern cemetery to the east of the ancient city and necropolis is encroaching on the city walls, the necropolis and the hippodromeswallowing up hectares of the ancient site in one year, with the archaeology being bulldozed and erased. The north side of the hippodrome has had its top bulldozed flat to allow the extension of the cemetery here.
In addition to the building work, the lack of police at the site has led to the destruction of archaeology in the city and necropolis in the search for antiquities to be sold on the black market. Hectares of untouched archaeology in the city have been dug out, with hundreds of pits littering the site, the material being sieved in search of coins and other finds for sale. The same is occuring in the necropolis, together with the damaging of conserved remains at the site for the sake of sheer vandalism.
A document listing the destruction of the site is available here: AntinoupolisDamageMarch2013
Please pass on this information to anyone you think may be interested. Disturbing news of an unique archaeological site. At the current rate the site will be gone in a matter of years not decades.