Wednesday 13 December 2017

Experts meet in Egypt over moving ancient King Tut items to new museum

The solid gold mask of King Tutankhamun is seen in its glass case in the Egyptian Museum (AP/Nariman El-Mofty)
The solid gold mask of King Tutankhamun is seen in its glass case in the Egyptian Museum (AP/Nariman El-Mofty)

Archaeologists and conservation experts have met in Egypt to discuss the safe transportation of King Tutankhamun's throne, chests and bed from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo to a new one being built in the capital.

The meeting, organised by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, brought together experts from Egypt, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Japan.

Tareq Tawfiq, a senior ministry official in charge of the new museum, said the meeting's primary objective was to reach a "global consensus" on how to safely transport and display King Tut's items in the new museum being built close to the famed Giza Pyramids.

The meeting also discussed methods to display the human remains discovered in King Tut's tomb, particularly those belonging to his two daughters, both stillborn, according to a document distributed to participants.

"It's a very big challenge to move a collection, particularly of such importance," said one of the participants, German Egyptologist Gabrielle Pieke.

Moving items belonging to King Tut has become a particularly sensitive issue since 2014, when the beard attached to the ancient Egyptian monarch's golden mask was accidentally knocked off.

Workers later hastily tried to reattach it, causing damage to the priceless artefact and causing an uproar among archaeologists across the world.

A German-Egyptian team worked on the restoration of the mask, which was placed back on a year later.

Ms Pieke urged Egypt not to rush the transfer or display of the ancient artefacts related to King Tut.

"It's a delicate issue... we have to be very careful," she cautioned.

No date has yet been set for the complete transfer of the priceless items, which would be displayed at two halls in the new facility, formally called the Grand Egyptian Museum.

The halls, covering 7,000 square metres, are scheduled to open at the end of 2017.

The tomb of King Tut, who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago, was discovered in 1922 in the southern city of Luxor.


Press Association

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