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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Egypt's legendary 'boy king' Tut goes on show at the RDS

Nikolett Batyi putting the finishing touches to the exhibit at the
Nikolett Batyi putting the finishing touches to the exhibit at the RDS
Archaeologist Howard Carter at work on Tutankhamun's coffin in 1922

Louise Hogan

A CREW of 60 people are working around the clock to bring the tomb of the legendary 'boy king' Tutankhamun back to life.

The young pharaoh was virtually wiped from Egyptian history after dying at the tender age of 18.

Yet, the name Tutankhamun now evokes images of untold treasures and alleged curses, and draws millions of curious onlookers to gaze upon the riches more than 3,000 years after his death.

Noel McHale, from MCD which is organising the staging of 'Tutankhamun: His Tomb and Treasures' in the RDS, Dublin, said a crew had been building the exhibition over the past 12 days.

The forgotten tomb was first discovered in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt in 1922, when English archaeologist Howard Carter and his team broke into the innermost burial chamber after seven years of digging.

There were 5,300 original objects found in the tomb. Around 1,000 of the burial artefacts designed to accompany the king into his afterlife have now been replicated for the exhibition in Cairo workshops from metal, wood, stone, gold and synthetics.

Among the items discovered in the tomb were the sarcophagus encasing the mummified body of the last ruler of the dynasty, a gold chariot, the lion-headed ritual bed, a shrine to the jackal god Anubis, and many miniature statues of goddesses. It also contains an exact copy of the famous golden death mask -- the original of which is now in the museum in Cairo.

Executive producer Christoph Scholz from German production company Semmel Concerts, which put together the exhibition at a cost of €5m, said they aimed to recreate the moment in onlookers' minds when Carter first glimpsed the tomb.

More than 80,000 tickets have been snapped up for the exhibit. The original exhibition of Tutankhamun was on worldwide show from 1961 to 1981 until it was banned from travelling after an ancient object was damaged.

An expert, Dr Mostafa El Ezapy from the University in Cairo, is due to fly to Ireland before the exhibition opens. Mr Scholz said they were working to sort out his visa, which had been complicated by the political strife in Egypt.

The exhibition in the Industries Hall in the RDS, Dublin opens on February 17 and runs until July.

Adult tickets are priced from €16 online through and from the box office at the RDS. There are discounts for midweek tickets, school groups and children. It is open daily from 10am until 7pm.

Irish Independent

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