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Slowing Deterioration at Luxor

Geotechnical studies and mapping, restoration, conservation and site management are being employed at at Luxor, Egypt to slow the deterioriation of the sites there due to population and environmental changes.

“The extraordinary monuments of Luxor survived for 5,000 years in large part because of the dry conditions and low population,” says Ray Johnson, director of Chicago House, the Oriental Institute of Chicago’s headquarters in Luxor which has been involved in restoration, conservation, recording and documentation projects throughout Thebes since 1924. “Today we have to adjust to changes in environmental and demographic conditions.” He was referring particularly to increased damage to monuments, such as the great mud-brick palace of Amenhotep III at Malkata, the enclosure walls of the temple of Medinet Habu, and Deir Al-Medina, in addition to the tomb chapels and settlement remains scattered throughout the west bank as a result of “wetter weather conditions, unregulated groundwater and wastewater, increased population pressure, expanding agriculture, urban development, and tourism.” Johnson’s words in a recent article written in collaboration with Mansour Boraik, the SCA’s director in Luxor, are woeful indeed. All these monuments, they claim, “have suffered the decay of centuries during just the last 15 years.”

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