An Egyptian book restoration official arranges burnt pages of the original ancient copy identified as “Le Description de L’Egypt”, (The Description of Egypt,) written by scientists who came with Napoleon Bonaparte’s expedition to Egypt in the late 18th century, which were saved from the research center in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. The building was almost completely gutted by a fire which broke out during the height of the clashes on Saturday, when troops on its roof and on other nearby rooftops hurled rocks down on protesters below. Photo: Amr Nabil / AP
– Thousands of rare documents burned in Egypt clash (Seattlepi/AP, Dec. 20, 2011):
CAIRO — Volunteers in white lab coats, surgical gloves and masks stood on the back of a pickup truck Monday along the banks of the Nile River in Cairo, rummaging through stacks of rare 200-year-old manuscripts that were little more than charcoal debris.
The volunteers, ranging from academic experts to appalled citizens, have spent the past two days trying to salvage what’s left of some 192,000 books, journals and writings, casualties of Egypt’s latest bout of violence.
Institute d’Egypte, a research center set up by Napoleon Bonaparte during France’s invasion in the late 18th century, caught fire during clashes between protesters and Egypt’s military over the weekend. It was home to a treasure trove of writings, most notably the handwritten 24-volume Description de l’Egypte, which began during the 1798-1801 French occupation.