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Daily News Egypt - Full Article: "Dying for that ancient treasure By Emad El-Sayed, June 6, 2008

Although prospecting for antiquities has been going on for several decades, recently monument trafficking in Egypt has been spreading like wildfire, with several big families in Upper Egypt in particular implicated in the illegal practice.

Dreams of striking gold and finding that long-lost treasure have made those who prospect for monuments ready to sacrifice their lives for it. That distant dream has, however, claimed the lives of thousands of youth who die in tunnels they believe will lead them to a yet undiscovered Pharaonic era tomb."

Fortunetellers, sheikhs, dreams and metal-detectors fuel the dreams of Egyptians seeking relief from the deteriorating economy.
But many have lost their lives, in tunnels, and some even under their own homes.
In the past, mostly metal was taken, now any pharaonic artifact is fair game. Over 15.000 antiquities were stolen in the last 7 years.
The Department of Retrieving Stolen Artifacts was established in 2003, and one judge called for the death penalty to deter this growing crime.
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René O'Deay


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