The antiquities minister denied reports that the faulty restoration of a 4,700-year-old stepped pyramid in Saqqara caused its partial collapse.
Over the past two weeks, a host of media reports citing several archaeologists and Egyptologists claimed the stepped pyramid of King Zoser, the oldest pyramid in Egypt, was structurally damaged by a botched restoration attempt.
Even worse, some suggested the pyramid had even partially collapsed or sank due to the damage.
Speaking in a press conference in Saqqara on Tuesday, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty vehemently denied the claims, and dismissed the reports as “baseless rumors” in a statement published on the ministry’s Facebook page.
Reporters and camera crews were allowed to enter the conservation site and inspect the pyramid for themselves before the conference.
The presser was scheduled for noon, but privately owned media outlets Veto, Sada al-Balad, Al-Masry Al-Youm (AMAY) and Youm7 all ran headlines reporting that Damaty arrived an hour late.
Journalists engaged in heated debate with the minister regarding the actual condition of Zoser’s pyramid, but were left with most of their questions unanswered, reported the news outlets.
Damaty blamed supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi for circulating “false information” about the pyramid’s deterioration, reported AMAY.
The minister declined the journalists’ request to disclose the most recent UNESCO report on the pyramid’s conservation, stating, “I have revealed all information available, and you have seen the condition of the pyramid for yourself.”
Reporters said they never received the detailed report on the restoration effort that the ministry had promised them prior to the presser.