First Review for Built on Bones!

So, I spent this week doing a lot of things. One of my favorites was freaking about my photoshopped proximity to lifetime hero author Neil ...

Sunday, 30 January 2011

sifting through the layers in egypt

As just about the entire world must now be aware, popular revolt has swept Egypt. I'm not on the ground there, and haven't been for a few years now, but there is something to be said for watching the places you know and lived as they turn topsy turvy. It's a little like watching the world from underwater... you can kinda recognize the landscape, but it's all out of whack.

So, I'm not going to try to keep pace with events--I'll leave that to Al-Jazeera (English) and the twitterverse, especially the tireless and well informed @bencnn.  I do want to highlight the very Egyptian nature of the response to the instability in terms of protecting heritage.  You can listen to Dr Zahi hawass explain it here:

But I think the most amazing thing of all is this footage (external link, sorry) , showing scores of ordinary Egyptians linking arms to protect the National Museum from looters. That's a level of dedication you don't see very many places.

In the meantime, in the small world of Egyptian archaeology, rumours are flying. The best updates are here, but my main concern is the people I know who are hunkering down in their dig houses right now. As far as I can tell, the police have abandoned Cairo and the West Bank in Luxor so the only thing keeping the wolves at bay are the impromptu neighborhood watches, sporadic army checkpoints, and a little luck. Whether the wolves are plainclothes security forces like much of the internet suggests, or they really are the escaped prisoners from Abu Zabaal who raided abandoned police stations and are now armed and looting... it doesn't much matter. What matters is the safety of everyone out at Giza, down in Abydos and Luxor, and up in the delta. And the future of the Egyptian people--a speedy resolution and peace on the streets, inshallah!

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Trivia (personal)

archaeologist. dental anthropologist. yes, that's a real thing. Author of Built on Bones, available in February 2017 (UK), May 2017 (USA) from Bloomsbury.



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