Controlling the Giza Pyramids 1993-5: Who was the ‘Mafia’ ?

In 1993, Dr. Ibrahim Bakr, then the Chairman of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization (EAO) accused a ‘Mafia’ of controlling the Giza Pyramids. Several articles appeared in the Arab press and International press (I have posted two on my Facebook) in which Dr. Bakr made this accusation. (the accusations were repeated also in 1995; see article in The Times (London) by Christopher Walker, July 1993).

mafiapyramids_timesjuly93.jpg

Did this ‘Mafia’ really exist? And, if so, who might be in it?

Dr. Ibrahim Bakr became Chairman (Director General) of the EAO in 1990. Under him was Dr. Zahi Hawass, who was then General Director for the Giza Pyramids since 1987.  It seems that from the start the two men did not get along too well.  In 1993 the feud between them came to a head.

This happened during the 1993 controvercial exploration of the shafts in the Great Pyramid by the German engineer Rudolf Gantenbrink, under the aegis of the German Archaeological Institute (for the full story see my book Secret Chamber, chapter 11).

Secret Chamber, book

From 7th to 22nd March 1993 Gantenbrink conducted explorations in the shafts of the Queen’s Chamber, apparently with the full verbal approval of Dr, Hawass. Dr. Bakr seemed to have been unaware of this exploration. According to Dr. Bakr, “the EAO never granted its approval to this German!” (Egyptian Gazette, 28 April 1993).  Because a “door” was found by Gantenbrink during this exploration, the news hit the international media in a big way. Oddly, it seems that Hawass had been ‘suspended’ from his post only a few weeks earlier following a scandal involving the disappearance of priceless 4th dynasty statuettes intented to be displayed at the Sphinx during a visit by Libyan President Muamar Gadhafi in January 1993. Rumours were that the statuettes were gifted to Gadhafi, although nothing was proved.  It seems that Dr. Bakr had succeeded finally in ousting his rival Hawass, who apprently had gone to the USA. But then, unexpectedly, Dr. Bakr himself was fired in June 1993, and Hawass returned from the USA and was re-instated as Director General for the Giza Pyramids.  It was then that Dr. Bakr, furious at his dismissal, went to the press with his accusations that a ‘Mafia’ was in control of the Giza Pyramids.

See articles: THE TIMES (London) July `1993; THE MIDDLE EAST TIME 19-25 February 1995

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