From Al Ahram Weekly – Link to full article
While the SCA secretary-general was being interviewed for “Guardian’s Spotlight” in July 2008, pigeons were seen pecking away at the eyes and ear cavities of the Sphinx and their droppings were splattered on the stone. Jill Kamil discusses this new danger
The secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities had much to tell his interviewer on “Spotlight”. Zahi Hawass waxed lyrical about “exciting things” that have been happening in the field of archaeology — the discovery of a new tomb of a queen at Saqqara that has yet to be formally announced; the entrance to two tombs in the Valley of the Kings on which excavation will begin in October; and “big happenings” in Aswan, Edfu and Kom Ombo. He was enthusiastic about the “improvements” at Dendera and the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, and gave details of the new museums at Rashid, Arish, Minya and Amarna, as well as site management at Beni Hassan and Tuna Al-Gabel.
Zahi Hawass raved about the progress on the Civilisation Museum at Fustat and the Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza. Indeed, he also had much to say about the plan to upgrade the Pyramid Plateau and turn it into “a tourist-friendly and hawker-free zone”. He mentioned that the project’s security component included installing cameras, alarms and motion detectors, as well as building up a 20-kilometre fence.
I wonder if the new electronic security devices, however, while monitoring the movements of tourists and hawkers, cameleers and horse riders, will be able to pick up the unwelcome winged creatures that are finding a comfortable and shady roost in the eye and ear cavities of the Sphinx, and causing damage to the stone with their droppings. Apparently the pigeons are pecking away at this most grand and famous of monuments, finding in it an appetizing calcium meal.
Yet more focus on the Sphinx-Bird issue. Has the time come for the problem to be addressed? I am quite surprised to learn that some form of “anti-bird” measures have not been included in the Giza Plateau site management plan already, as this has been a known issue for quite some time.