Saqqara Pyramid, the oldest stone complex ever built by humans and a master piece made before 4,600 years, is being destroyed by a company assigned to restore it, according to a local report.
It's worth mentioning that the said company, hired by Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities, could have committed a crime during the restoration process. The preservation laws dictate that any new constructions shouldn't exceed 5% of the preserved structure, according to Egypt Independent. Nevertheless, the company, which has reportedly never worked on a preservation project before! - set up some new walls of more than the allowed 5%.
Saqqara is now expected to ruin; activists said the new construction is actually contributing to the collapse of the oldest cut stone structure worldwide.
Back in 1992, a major earthquake hit the region and almost destroyed Saqqara. It sent "tons" of stone, broken free from the structure, down into the base, and created a "dome-shaped" void at its top, in the words of archaeologist Peter James, who says it was "liable to collapse at any time."
At the time, James' company installed an ingenious temporary balloon-style support called WaterWall. "The internally-reinforced PVC product can be inflated with air and then filled with water," writes James. "It was this product that was used to support the inverted dome of stone." The system worked well, and over time, restoration specialists planned to install steel rods to strengthen the pyramid permanently.
But funding ran out. And kept running out, it seems, as sociopolitical upheaval wracked Egypt. The company that was hired to take up the job has reportedly never restored an ancient structure before—in fact, it's never completed a successful project at all. Speaking to Al-Masry Al-Youm and translated by the Egypt Independent, one advocate said the company is actually responsible for a collapse of one section of the structure already.
It's a sad, and unfortunately very common throughout history, occurrence. But hopefully a structure that survived the past 4,600 years of history can weather this particular storm, too.[Egypt Independent; Co.Design]