CAIRO: An amateur excavator was arrested under an ancient mosque of Abu Bakr in Ain Shams.
The man, 47, was found in possession of digging tools and rope in a approximately 10 meter-deep pit, ostensiblity searching for ancient artifacts. The man has been taken into custody.
Some areas of Cairo have been inhabited for thousands of years and the discovery of artifacts is common enough that phone scammers will occasionally ring a person saying they have found a mummy, and need funds to smuggle it to a foreign museum.
Since 1983, however, all artifacts from excavations are state property per Egyptian law. Those in violation of this law can face hefty fines and hard labor.
Three brothers died while excavating antiquities in a crypt under a mechanic workshop in the Shebin el-Kom city of Menoufia, in August.
In 2014, would-be thieves were arrested after trying to dig a tunnel under the Nile to the site of Houd Zelikha, south of Giza.