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DEMOCRACY

Sweden issues Cairo travel warning

Sweden on Friday recommended its citizens to avoid the Egyptian capital Cairo as unrest continued.

Sweden issues Cairo travel warning

Neighbouring Denmark warned its citizens against all unnecessary travel to Egypt, with the exception of tourist resorts, while Sweden’s foreign ministry was more limited in its recommendation.

Egypt, a major tourist destination for Scandinavians, has been since Tuesday rocked by massive protests against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

Denmark’s foreign ministry said on its website the massive protests were cause to warn against all travel to the country, with the exception of tourists resorts along the Red Sea coast.

Sweden meanwhile advised its citizens against all unnecessary travel to the Egyptian capital.

“We think (Swedes) should avoid travelling to Cairo if not absolutely necessary,” foreign ministry spokesman Anders Jörle told AFP.

Egyptians in Sweden staged their own protests in Stockholm on Friday evening with groups gathering in Sergels Torg to register their support for their countrymen.

“It’s Muslims, Christians, moderates, liberals…Egyptians of all kinds who are fighting for their freedoms,” one of the organizers, Kholoud Saad, told The Local on Friday.

Sweden’s foreign minister Carl Bildt on Friday slammed Egyptian authorities for shutting down internet access.

“Obviously, the future of Egypt cannot be shaped by closing the internet – instead it must be shaped by opening up the political system,” Bildt said in a statement.

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BURIAL

Swedish archeologist finds ancient mass grave in Egypt

A Swedish archeologist has discovered a 3,000-year-old mass grave at the Gebel el-Silsila site in southern Egypt.

Swedish archeologist finds ancient mass grave in Egypt
John Ward and the team with one of the sarcophogi. Photo: Gebel El Silsila Project
Maria Nilsson, Researcher in Classical Archeology at Lund University, told Sweden’s TT newswire that although her group had so far dug through less than half of the grave site, they had already found a large number of human remains. 
 
“It’s just skeleton after skeleton after skeleton,” she said. “We haven’t yet finished the first chamber, but we have so far taken up 50 adults and 25 children.” 
 
Nilsson and her British husband John Ward, who is the project’s Assistant Director, announced the discovery in a video after it was announced by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquity on Thursday. 
 

 
The group discovered the shaft last year, but only realised its full significance when they started digging this October. The shaft was found five metres under ground and leads to two chambers, each filled with water, sand and sludge. 
 
View to the south-east of chamber 1. Photo: Gebel el Silsila Project
 
The grave is thought to date from Egypt’s 18th dynasty, making it around 3,400 years old. As well as bodies, the archeologists have found burial goods, such as scarabs, amulets, and different types of pots, coming from three generations of pharoahs: Thutmosis II, III och Amenhotep II.
 
Writing in her blog, Nilsson, said that no similar mass grave had been found as part of the dig. 
 
“No other tomb documented at Gebel el-Silsila previously has contained such a high number of entombed individuals,” she wrote.
 
“One of the more important results of the discovery at Gebel el-Silsila is the amount of buried children and women, indicating that there was a complete society with entire families living and working in ancient Kheny.”
 
 
Men-Kheper-Re scarab. Photo: Anders Andersson
 
“What we can see from the burial goods and the actual architecture of the tomb is that they belonged to the upper middle-class,” Nilsson said. “For various reasons, we believe that they were involved in quarry work.” 
 
The archeologists have several theories for why so many bodies were collected in the same place. 
 
Perhaps it was a kind of temporary morgue where Egypt’s priests kept bodies while waiting for grave sites to become available. Perhaps there had been an epidemic.   
 
In February Maria Nilsson and John Ward are returning to Sweden, and will be returning to the burial place next autumn. 
 
View from the shaft into chamber.  Photo: Anders Andersson
 
 
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