Plan to Restore Giza Pyramid Draws Anger and Mockery from Archaeologists - The World News

Plan to Restore Giza Pyramid Draws Anger and Mockery from Archaeologists

A plan to restore one of the Giza pyramids is being slammed by archaeologists, who have compared it to “straightening the Tower of Pisa.”

The project—which is already in motion—aims to reconstruct the outer casing of granite on the Pyramid of Menkaure’s four sides, and is a partnership between the Egyptian government and Japanese archaeologists. The facade is being constructed with the original blocks scattered around the pyramid’s base. According to the project team, the blocks were dislodged during an earthquake within the last thousand years.

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A video posted to Facebook on Friday by Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, shows workers laying granite blocks at the base of the pyramid, which is located next to the Great Sphinx and the Khafre and Cheops pyramids.

The Pyramid of Menkaure, the smallest of the three pyramids in the Giza complex, originally had 16 granite blocks comprising its outer casing, but only seven survive today. 

 “There have been numerous projects throughout history that have been dubbed ‘Project of the Century,’ but, in my opinion, the task of restoring the granite casing of the Menkaure Pyramid is as significant and crucial,” Waziri says in the video. He called the project “a gift from Egypt to the world” that will allow the “first complete viewing” of Menkaure pyramid in the modern era.

The video, however, has drawn ire and mockery from experts. 

“Impossible,” Egyptologist Monica Hanna said, as quoted by the AFP. “The only thing missing was to add tiling to the pyramid of Menkaure! When are we going to stop the absurdity in the management of Egyptian heritage?”

She added: “All international principles on renovations prohibit such interventions.”

Other commentors joked that the project team should include wallpaper and a paint job, or asked, “When will the project to straighten the Tower of Pisa be planned?” The Leaning Tower of Pisa has been stabilized to keep it upright. 

Still more critics questioned the wisdom of a costly project during Egypt’s recent economic downturn. Per the National, $32 billion in loan repayments are due this year. The debt crisis is compounded by high inflation and a steep drop in trade through the Suez Canal, a key means of income for the Egyptian government. 

In an interview with a state-affiliated media outlet, Waziri sought to allay criticism of the project, saying its first stage will be paid for by Japan. 

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