Experts in the field of cultural heritage and people on social media have strong opinions on a restoration project that aims to wrap one of Egypt’s most famous pyramids in granite.
The initiative, which seems to have already begun, was announced on January 25 by Mostafa Waziri, chairman of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, in a Facebook video.
In the clip, Waziri is standing before the Menkaure Pyramid, one of the smallest of the famous pyramids on the outer edge of Giza, Cairo.
The pyramid, built from granite, limestone, and mortar, was intended to house the last resting place of Pharaoh Menkaure. Its estimated construction date is over five thousand years ago.
In the footage, workmen are seen removing sand from the base of the pyramid. You can see the gray block layers. According to Waziri, the 213-foot pyramid will be restored to its former granite-clad condition.
According to an Arabic news outlet, Waziri said the project would last for three years and would need thorough research and documentation.
He used language similar to that used during the inauguration of past projects, such as the Suez Canal extension, when he referred to it as Egypt’s gift to the world.
The public at large, as well as some specialists in cultural heritage and Egyptology, have been skeptical.
According to a report, Biblioteca Alexandrina’s head of antiquities, Hussein Bassir, warned that the project needed extreme prudence and careful consideration of all potential dangers before proceeding.
The initiative might also be successful, according to Egyptologist Salima Ikram of the American University of Cairo, who informed the outlet that the stones utilized must be authentic pyramid stones, not artificial ones. If that is really the plan, it is not apparent.
In light of the significant responses, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has requested a break to reconsider the project’s viability.