Involving local community in the archaeological and conservation work in Abusir, Egypt

Snapshot Solution
The team of Egyptian-German archaeological mission during season 2022
Egyptian-German archaeological mission at Abusir

The pyramid complex of Sahura in Abusir, Northern Saqqara, is a significant archaeological site part of the World Heritage site of 'Memphis and its necropolis.' A collaborative effort of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Egypt and the University of Würzburg, has been established to enhance our understanding of the site, particularly focusing on the pyramid and funeral complex of King Sahura, as well as its surrounding areas.

Local workers from the neighbouring villages and Saqqara have been crucial to the success of the excavation. They are employed for various tasks, including excavation, conservation, and related activities. Many of these workers have gained extensive expertise through their involvement in numerous consecutive projects. In certain instances, we even see second or even third generations of workers continuing the tradition of working at the site. Their long-standing experience and dedication have greatly contributed to the advancement and accomplishments of the project.

Last update: 19 Jul 2023
Challenges addressed
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Unemployment / poverty
Scale of implementation
Hot desert
Sustainable livelihoods
Local actors
Outreach & communications
World Heritage
Abusir, Al Badrashen, Giza, Egypt
North Africa

The local community is employed to work at the site providing a stable income for 2-3 months twice a year. The involvement of local workers is also very useful to fight illicit digging, treasure hunting and demolitions. As a matter of fact, there are today some local teens who later decide to study archaeology/ history to start their career in heritage-related fields.

The next step is to look forward to establish a site management plan to ensure continuity of field and conservation work. The proposed plan will focus on the possibility of public accessibility for the site, also providing interpretative signs. 

The involvement of the local community is vital in the execution of this plan, with local inspectors, restorers, and workers representing their community in these endeavours.

By actively engaging the local community, the management plan aims to foster a sense of ownership and responsibility towards the site's preservation and cultural heritage.

Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities