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Egypt’s Menkaure Pyramid to be Restored to Original Appearance

January 28, 2024
The Great Pyramid of Menkaure Image Credit: Przemyslaw Idzkiewicz/Wikimedia Commons

Egypt’s Pyramid of Menkaure, the smallest of the three Great Pyramids of Giza, will be restored to its original appearance in an ambitious archaeological project by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and a Japanese mission.

The restoration process, led by Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and Yoshimura Sakoguchi, aims to study, document, and eventually reinstall the external casing of Menkaure.

“There have been numerous projects throughout history that have been dubbed ‘Project of the Century,’ but, in my opinion, the task of restoring the granite casing of the Menkaure Pyramid is as significant and crucial as (any of them),” Waziri declared, later describing the project as Egypt’s “gift to the world.”

Currently, only seven out of the sixteen granite blocks used for the pyramid’s outer casing remain intact.

Despite the positivity portrayed by the project’s officials, the decision to restore Menkaure spurred controversy on social media.

“Ideas about restoration and conservation change a great deal, and what was thought to be great when it was done is often criticised 10 years later,” Egyptologist Salima Ikram remarked in a critique on her Facebook page.

“This is a grave situation,” Ibrahem Badr, an associate professor in archaeological restoration and conservation, expressed. “Someone needs to read the international conventions for restoration and dealing with Egyptian antiquities.”

The restoration process will span over three years through multiple phases, including drawing, photogrammetry, laser scanning, and the physical reinstallation of the granite blocks.

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