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Monday, 18 December 2017

Archaeologists in Matareya struggle to balance an interest in the past with modern needs for development

Archaeologists working on excavations in Cairo’s Matareya are struggling to balance an interest in the past with modern needs and challenges, Jahd Khalil writes for The National. Matareya is where archaeologists from Egypt and Germany unearthed an eight-meter statue back in March. The neighborhood itself is already inhabited, largely with “self-built housing” that may have contributed to a rising water table. However, general contractors are also looking to press ahead with new construction projects in the area, which may further jeopardize “the trove of antiquities underneath” the surface. “In a place like Egypt, which is densely populated, there’s a conflict. There’s the people who live there now, versus an archaeologist who has a legitimate interest in knowing about the artefacts of the past,” says associate professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, Elliot Colla.

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