The Saqqara Pyramid in Egypt isn't in the best shape, and it is for that reason that Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities hired a company to help restore it.
There just might be one problem -- the company might actually be making the entire situation worse, according to Egyptian activists.
Activists claim that the company responsible for restoring the pyramid, Shurbagy, has done exactly the opposite. According to source cited by the Egypt Independent, Shurbagy is already responsible for one part of Egypt's first pyramid collapsing, and it may now be committing a crime by illegally building too many structures outside of the pyramid.
Current Egyptian preservation laws, according to the Independent, state that new construction be less than five percent of structure attempting to be preserved. The restoration company reportedly has built multiple new walls and outside structures that far exceed the limit. Even worse, the structures may be contributing to the further collapse of the pyramid.
"Technically, the company and officials of the Supreme Council of Antiquities committed a full-fledged crime," Amir Gamal, a representative for the activists, says.
Making matters even better is the accusation by activists that Shurbagy as a company has never worked on the restoration of an archaeological site, instead having only received contracts over the last nine years to create modern construction at sites like the Saqqara pyramid.
"Adding the modern construction is a large pressure on the decaying pyramid, which threatens catastrophe," Gamal says.
The 4,600-year-old, 62-meters-tall pyramid was constructed out of limestone for Pharoah Joser, who ruled from 2685-2613 B.C. Inside, the pyramid houses a network of corridors and a granite and marble burial chamber.
A 1992 earthquake nearly destroyed the pyramid, causing stone to break free from the structure and created a "dome shaped" void at it's top, which experts said could collapse at any time. The structure has since been supported by an inflatable, balloon style support system, with the plan of inserting steel rods inside the structure for additional support. That sadly never came to pass.
While funds were dedicated annually to restoring the structure for a number of years, the political upheaval of the Egyptian state in 2012 resulted in a lack of funding for the restoration. Restoration efforts have since resumed, but as detailed above, may be less than satisfactory for many concerned about preserving Egypt's ancient history.
Photo: Buyoof via Wikimedia Commons