The Pyramid of Djoser
The Pyramid of Djoser is at risk of being destroyed(Semhur/Wikipedia Commons)

Activists are angry with Egypt's Minister of Antiquities, Mamdouh Eldamaty, for choosing to re-hire a company to restore one of Egypt's oldest pyramids after the firm caused damage and major deterioration to the structure while trying to repair it. 

According to the Non-Stop Robberies movement, the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser, located in the Saqqara necropolis, sustained serious damage while being restored by a company called Shurbagy. This led to major deterioration and the collapse of a section of the pyramid.

"Technically, the company and officials of the Supreme Council of Antiquities committed a full-fledged crime," Amir Gamal, a representative of Non-Stop Robberies, told the Egypt Independent.

"New walls were built outside the pyramid as if the pyramid were a modern construction, which is opposite to international standards of restoration, which prevents adding more than 5% of construction to antiquities if necessary.

"Adding the modern construction is a large pressure on the decaying pyramid, which threatens catastrophe."

The activists say that in addition to causing great damage to the famous monument, the company has no experience in restoring archaeological sites.

Shurbagy had been contracted to provide construction work on six archaeological projects, and according to Gamal all of its previous work on these jobs is now under investigation.  

The Pyramid of Djoser

The Pyramid of Djoser is the world's oldest pyramid. It was built during the 27th century BC and is 100 years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The pyramid was built by the master builder Imhotep for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser who had reigned for two or three decades, and consists of six mastabas - a form of flat-roofed Egyptian tomb that creates huge steps up the side of the structure which gradually decrease in size.

The pyramid has undergone many restoration projects after an earthquake struck in 1992, leaving a giant dome-shaped hole in the roof and rendering it unstable.

In 2011, a British team began the task of bringing the structure back to its former glory by inflating a giant water-balloon style support in its chambers to hold the ceiling up. However, the restoration ground to a halt in 2012 following issues with funding.

Saving Egypt's oldest pyramid by National GeographicYouTube/Cintec Worldwide