A Master Plan for the Management and
Conservation of the
by Zahi Hawass
Several years ago, a master plan was drawn up to manage and restore the monuments of Giza in four phases. The first two phases have already been successfully completed; the last two are being carried out and should be completed by 2005.
The first part of the plan was concerned with the overall access
to the site and the movement of visitors and vehicles. A one-way road system was
established and a separate entrance fee for vehicles was introduced to regulate and reduce
traffic. A new entrance gate and car park was built near the Mena House hotel and
admission is now charged to all visitors regardless
of whether they go inside the monuments or not. Parking areas on the plateau are now sited a short distance from the monuments.
A private cleaning company has been hired to clean the site, and camel corps police regulate the horses and camels allowed on the plateau.
The Great Pyramid was closed for a year while a ventilation system was installed, dramatically reducing the humidity and temperature in the burial chamber. Efflorescing salts and modern graffiti were removed and a closed-circuit TV camera was installed for security..
The Second Pyramid was closed for six months while the stone surfaces were cleaned and salts were removed. Belzoni's graffito "2nd of March 1818" was cleaned and conserved and some damaged parts of the corridor were consolidated.
Most importantly, a training program for conservation and archaeology was established to ensure a supply of properly trained personnel to safeguard the future of the monuments.
The second phase aimed to make the Giza Plateau more
comprehensible to visitors. Some modern additions were removed and new sites opened in
order to encourage visitors to stay longer and to spread themselves more thinly in the
hope that the more vulnerable areas would be less crowded.
The road built over Khufu's funerary temple in 1949 was removed, the basalt pavement of the temple was cleared, and a boat pit on the north-east side was re-excavated. The top of the causeway was cleared as were two important nearby sites -- the trial passage and the tomb shaft of Queen Hetepheres.
Also on the east side of the Great Pyramid, the three subsidiary pyramids were cleaned and their chambers prepared for opening to the public. A small later temple built up against the third subsidiary pyramid was restored. In the course of this work near the south-east corner of the Great Pyramid, the satellite pyramid of Khufu was discovered, badly ruined, but with the internal rock-cut chamber intact.
The plan for the third phase was prepared in co-operation with
UNESCO to implement improvements in visitor management and facilities while preserving the
monuments. The main points to be effected are the following:
1. A ring road around the Giza Plateau will carry all traffic. Inside the site, electrically powered (and non-polluting) transportation will be provided for those who need it.
2. Two educational centers will be established to provide educational archaeological information and tourist
3. Horse and camel stables will be transferred south of the plateau.
4. A picnic and recreation area will be established south of the monuments.
5. A conservation laboratory will be built.
The final phase is a 10-15 year program of maintenance and research. It includes:
1. Staff training to provide adequately knowledgeable personnel to
administer the site, to provide up-to-date conservation whenever necessary and to continue
the clearing and research programs which will enhance the site for visitors and scholars.
2. Re-excavation and clearing, especially in the cemeteries of the nobles to the east and west of the Great Pyramid.
3. A program of photogrammetric planning of all the pyramids as an aid to assessing their stability and conservation needs.
4. Mapping and excavation of the area south and west of the Third Pyramid where tumbled debris from the pyramid has never been cleared. This needs skilled photogrammetric planning before removing fallen blocks which may be covering long-sought-after evidence of building ramps and construction methods.
The economic need to accommodate more visitors and to encourage them to stay longer has to be balanced with the long-term future of the monuments themselves. More careful regulation of visitors and traffic (both vehicular and animal) combined with judicial opening of more areas of interest is vital to achieve this end. To implement and maintain this, it is essential to establish local training centers for conservation, restoration and scientific
That Khufu's name "lives forever" through his most perfectly proportioned funerary monument, four and a half thousand years after his death is testimony to the importance of this site to the world's culture and history. We owe it to him to see that his monument and name survive in dignity for another few thousand years.
Site Management and Tourism
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