The Egyptian antiquities ministry has decided to halt its cooperation with an American mission working near Fayoum after accusing the mission of making false statements about the discovery of a necropolis.
According to a ministry statement, the decision comes after the Brigham Young University mission gave false information to a British newspaper about its excavations in Fag Al-Gamous village in Upper Egypt.
The BYU mission announced that its excavators were working in an ancient necropolis dating back some 2,000 years which contains an estimated one million burials. Press reports described the burials as mummies.
The mission has been working on the site for 28 years.
Head of the ministry's ancient Egyptian antiquities department, Youssef Khalifa, told Ahram Online that the statement made by the American mission is “unfounded.”
He said that only one mummy has been unearthed at the site, in 1980, and it is now on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. What the mission has discovered, he continued, are thousands of human skeletons and remains of human bones which are very poorly conserved.
Khalifa also stated that the mission had failed to respect the ministry’s regulations and had broken the law, which stipulates that no foreign mission is allowed to announce a discovery without the approval of the ministry’s permanent committee.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF EGYPT
Prehistoric Egypt pre–3100 BC
Early Dynastic Period 3100–2686 BC
Old Kingdom 2686–2181 BC
1st Intermediate Period 2181–2055 BC
Middle Kingdom 2055–1650 BC
2nd Intermediate Period 1650–1550 BC
New Kingdom* 1550–1069 BC
3rd Intermediate Period 1069–664 BC
Late Period 664–332 BC
Achaemenid Egypt 525–332 BC
Ptolemaic Egypt 332–30 BC
Roman & Byzantine Egypt 30 BC–641 AD
Sassanid Egypt 621–629
Arab Egypt 641–969
Fatimid Egypt 969–1171
Ayyubid Egypt 1171–1250
Mamluk Egypt 1250–1517
Ottoman Egypt 1517–1867
French occupation 1798–1801
Egypt under Muhammad Ali 1805–1882
Khedivate of Egypt 1867–1914
British occupation 1882–1953
Sultanate of Egypt 1914–1922
Kingdom of Egypt 1922–1953
*Time period from which tomb KV 40 is believed to originate.