Four Egyptian archaeologists visited the Camillus aqueduct and Erie Canal Park last week as part of a cultural heritage preservation program through the U.S. Department of State and International Center of Syracuse.
The men were greeted by park volunteers, toured the Sims Store Museum and traveled a mile down the canal by boat to the aqueduct site.
Hard work rewarded
Park volunteer Marie Miczan called the visit an honor. While on their trip to the United States, the men visited archeological sites throughout the country, and Miczan was surprised and thrilled to have them stop in Camillus.
"It's like a reward for all us volunteers, for all our hard work," Miczan said. She has been volunteering with the park for about six years.
The volunteering efforts responsible for the creation and growth of the park did not go unseen by the archaeologists.
"Volunteers are very important to give new generations importance of heritage and the past," El Bialy. "You can't ask for people's help to preserve the past without knowing anything about the past."
That is where the volunteers come in, he said. Their efforts to educate present generations about the history of the canal and the local area are important in eventually raising funds to preserve historic sites.
Preservation is key
Dr. Mohamed El Bialy, general director of antiquities of Aswan and Nubia, said historical sites like the aqueduct are just as important and in need of preservation as world-famous sites like the Pyramids of Giza.
"You can't cut the past," El Bialy said. "It is like a tree going under ground, if you would like to grow the tree, you can't cut the roots."
The town of Camillus recently announced that it would go to bid a second time on Aug. 19 for the aqueduct renovation project. The initial attempt in 2004 to start the renovation process was stalled when the town did not receive any bids within the project budget.