Photographer, model arrested by Egyptian police following photo shoot at ancient site

Archaeology team in Egypt find lion mummy at famed pyramid site

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities said archaeologists excavated the mummy in Saqqara, a town south of Cairo. The Ministry of Antiquities is planning to announce additional details about the discovery at the end of the month. In 2004, the first lion skeleton was found, revealing the sacred status of the animal during ancient times.

A photographer and his muse were detained by Egyptian police after staging a photo shoot at Saqqara necropolis last week.

Photographer Houssam Mohammad and dancer and model Salma al-Shimi were reportedly arrested on Monday following what local media outlets called a “proactive and offensive” shoot, which saw Shimi posing in front of the stepped Pyramid of Djoser wearing an Egyptian-inspired, though not authentic, outfit.

The photographer and model had staged the photoshoot on Monday at the stepped Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara.
(iStock)

Prior to his arrest, Mohammad reportedly admitted that Shimi, who has more than 81,000 followers on Instagram, had initially worn a robe when entering the ancient archaeological site, but removed it when it came time for the shoot. He also said that several employees watched him and Shimi during the photo shoot, and not once did they request the two stop, according to the Middle East Eye.

Shimi, however, had told a prosecutor that she was unaware that her actions violated any regulations, and instead argued that she was planning to use her photographs to promote tourism.

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Shimi, too, had briefly removed the photos from her personal Instagram account, according to The Guardian, although they appear to have been re-posted since that time. A short video from the day of the shoot is also still visible on her TikTok account.

The two were released on bail on Tuesday, pending the results of an investigation, the Middle East Eye reported.

Social media users in Egypt, meanwhile, had mixed reactions, with some admonishing the pair and others wondering how, exactly, her actions differed significantly from those of fashion models or tourists snapping photos.

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Despite this, Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, reiterated to an Egyptian news outlet that anyone caught “disrespecting” the sites would face repercussions.

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