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TOPIC: Gold diggers dream of riches in Egypt's ancient land

Gold diggers dream of riches in Egypt's ancient land 7 years 10 months ago #4127

  • wreckdiver
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Gold diggers dream of riches in Egypt's ancient land

ASWAN, EGYPT - In the depths of the earth in Aswan and the surrounding villages in southern Egypt, impoverished locals dig illegally for what they fervently hope will be treasure in the shape of gold - ancient gold.

The treasure hunters also seek out the abilities of 'sheikhs' who allegedly have an uncanny power to pinpoint the locations of the buried ancient treasures.

'One of the sheikhs is invited to the digger's house where the sheikh will inform him whether he should continue digging or not,' says Mohamed Bashir, an Aswan resident.

Although Egypt has its own sheikhs, help is often sought from Moroccan clerics who have a good reputation in this regard, according to Bashir.

Bashir, who runs a small souvenir ship for low-budget tourists told dpa that 'people pay the sheikh around 5,000 Egyptian pounds (840 dollars). Some have even paid as much as 30,000 pounds and never found anything under their houses.'

Many believe that the sheikhs have the power to protect them from the genies who guard the treasures against raiders.

'Some sheikhs, however, use evil magic, known as simbia, which is not from the Holy Koran. These sheikhs use magic to make their clients believe that they bring them gold while they pull out the gold buried in the ground for themselves,' Bashir says.

But digging for information on the exact whereabouts of these gold diggers is as difficult as finding the buried treasure.

Locals have reported hearing cases recently of treasure hunters using metal detectors in the eastern villages of Aswan to find the gold, but this is largely based on hearsay.

'People who dig are afraid to talk,' explained Bashir. 'If someone does find anything, they usually dig it up at night, fearing that their neighbours will snitch on them to authorities.'

Earlier this year, the Egyptian government amended the country's law on excavations. The new law toughens penalties against those who search for, possess, or deal in historical antiquities.

These penalties include prison terms ranging from 10 years to life and fines from 50,000 to 500,000 pounds.

Bashir recalled the story of a man he knew in a nearby village who some years ago began building to extend some rooms in his house and stumbled across a set of steps that led to a treasure of antiquities.

'Thinking that he would get something out of it, he informed the authorities. When the police showed up, they took the artifacts without giving him anything,' he says.

'People in Aswan do not want their houses to share the fate of the Village of Old Gurna in (the nearby town of) Luxor,' said Bashir.

In 2007, it was discovered that houses in Old Gurna, which lies on the West Bank of the Nile in Luxor, were built on a historical site.

Beneath them 950 tombs of ancient nobles and rulers were found. Archaeologists say more ancient tombs still exist in the area.

In response to the significant find, the Egyptian government, in coordination with the antiquity authorities, relocated some 3, 200 families to preserve the ancient site.

Courtesy M&C
“Treasure – If it’s out there, we’re going to find it!” (Tommy Vawter)
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Re: Gold diggers dream of riches in Egypt's ancient land 7 years 10 months ago #4132

  • ropesfish
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Fascinating that the Grubbermint's interests always outweigh the interest of mere citizens in so many countries.
I wonder if it is illegal to dive with a metal detector in the lake formed by the Aswan dam? They only displaced 100,000 citizens for that one. Probably need a permit. :S
Bill Black
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No regrets. No prisoners.
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