Egyptian activists have launched an attack against the Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh al-Damaty after assigning a company with the restoration of Egypt's oldest pyramid at Saqqara. The same company worked on the project till October 2012 and caused a major deterioration of the pyramid that even caused part of it to collapse, Al-Masry al-Youm reported.
Amir Gamal, representative of the ‘Non-stop Robberies’ movement, told the paper that the company, called Shurbagy, worked on the Saqqara pyramid until October 2012, at which moment the ministry stopped the restoration due to a lack of funds. Gamal said that Shurbagy has been working for nine years and has not been successful in any of the six projects it has worked on, adding that all are being investigated.
“The company has never restored any archaeological site. All projects it had were to create modern construction at archaeological sites,” he said. “Technically, the company and officials of the Supreme Council of Antiquities committed a full-fledged crime. New walls were built outside the pyramid as if the pyramid were a modern construction, which is opposite to international standards of restoration, which prevents adding more than 5 percent of construction to antiquities if necessary,” he added. “Adding the modern construction is a large pressure on the decaying pyramid, which threatens catastrophe,” he said.
Shurnbagy's work in fact caused the collapse of a section of the pyramid before 2012. The ''step pyramid'', which is more than 4,600 years old, was the first pyramid built by the ancient Egyptians. It was constructed from limestone for Pharaoh Joser, who ruled from 2686–2613 BC. It is 62 meters high and consists of six steps which are unequal in hight. Inside, the pyramid has a network of corridors and a granite and marble burial chamber.