For years the people of the village of Sakkara have battled with the antiquities authorities to try to expand the burial area for the village. There is no space to bury people in the Nile Valley. It is filled with dwellings, cities and farmland. In addition, the water table in the valley is so high that digging a hole a meter or so deep will hit water...not the best situation for burial. I'll bet that this has always been the case and that is why for thousands of years Egyptians have buried their dead at the edge of the desert. Within a month of the end of the 18 days of revolution (or whatever it may turn out to have been) these tombs had been built in a wadi next to Sakkara village and the pyramid of Pepi II. In past years the Antiquities Council has brought in bulldozers to get rid of the village tombs but with the government in disarray no one did that this year. In fairness to the villagers, my unprofessional bet is that their tombs are unlikely to be a major problem, as in the valley that they chose for the location, the yearly flood would have made any construction in the area difficult if not impossible. But the horses sure miss one of their favourite gallops across the wadi.
I came to Egypt as the wife of an Egyptian/Canadian businessman and the mother of our children in the late 80's. My husband is no longer with us, the children are pursuing careers abroad, but Egypt is still my home, albeit, a rural rather than urban one. You can reach me at msgabbani at gmail.com