2006 and 2008 World Monuments Watch
The area along the West Bank of the Nile at Luxor contains some of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Its approximately nine square kilometers encompass the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, the village of Dayr al-Madinah, the palace-city of Malqata, more than 5,000 nobles' tombs, countless shrines, Palaeolithic workstations, and some 40 plus temples. These monuments, including some of the largest structures known from the ancient world, range in date from the middle Paleolithic to modern periods, but the majority of sites were established during the New Kingdom (ca. 1540-1075 B.C.). The monuments of the Theban Necropolis are threatened by the pressures of rapidly increasing tourism, pollution, neglect, development, rising groundwater due to irrigation of adjacent fields, and flash flooding. Of these factors, the results of irrigation present perhaps the most wide-ranging and potentially damaging threat—weakening foundations of ancient buildings and monuments. In addition, dramatic increases in tourism endanger not only the famous monuments in the area—such as the tombs in the Valley of the Kings—but tourism development plans have also removed thousands of people from their century-old mudbrick homes in the village of old Qurna and demolished traditional buildings and communities. WMF sponsored a site assessment and management plan for the Valley of the Kings, which was included on its 2000 and 2002 Watch Lists, as well as a project to address water damage at the site of the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III, which was on the Watch List in 1998 and 2004. A comprehensive plan for the West Bank is necessary to address the threats to this important concentration of ancient Egyptian cultural heritage, and to preserve it for future generations.