The new Egyptian ruins

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If tourism persists at the current rate in Egypt, the Sphinx may soon need more than just a nose job. NEW SCIENTIST reports that tourists are destroying prehistoric sites in Egypt’s Western Desert with a recklessness never seen before. “Unless urgent measures are taken, Egypt will be left with not one prehistoric site intact,” said Rudolph Kuper of the University of Cologne.

Egypt has already lost all the known prehistoric sites along the Nile valley to land reclamation and building projects. Now, a crisis is building in the Wadi Sura, or “Valley of Pictures,” where visitors are pouring water over paintings — some of which are 7,000 years old — to make them more easily visible. This draws salt to the surface and makes the paintings erode faster. Tour operators have been no help, either — their off-road vehicles are scattering artifacts at thousands of unexcavated sites.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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