Pharaoh Tut’s bare face to go on public display for the first time

November 14th, 2007 - 1:57 am ICT by admin  
The mummy will be removed from its sarcophagus and placed in a climate-controlled glass case in the antechamber of the Pharaoh’s tomb in Luxor in November, said Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

“I am taking the mummy out to show it to the public for the first time,” Hawass said, adding that the move is part of an effort to preserve the mummy, which has been in poor condition since it was first discovered.

British archaeologist Howard Carter first discovered the mummy in the Pharaoh’s treasure filled tomb in Luxor’s Valley of Kings in 1922.

But Carter and his team partly destroyed the mummy in search of more treasures buried with the Pharaoh, separating it into 18 sections.

Later humidity and heat, much of it generated by the breath of the tomb’s 5,000 daily visitors, took its toll on the mummy.

“Right now the mummy has no special protection from the humidity in the tomb. The new case will be specially sealed to protect it from this sort of damage,” said Hawass.

Mansour Boraik, general supervisor of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Luxor, said, the Pharaoh’s remains will be partially rewrapped in linen with the face left uncovered.

Officials hope the display will increase the number of visitors and generate profit for the conservation of other Egyptian antiquities.

“The ‘golden boy’ has magic and mystery that bring people from all over the world,” Hawass said, adding that the mummy has been examined four times before, but it has never been seen by the public.

Incidentally, in 2005, Hawass opened the sarcophagus to perform a series of CT scans that allowed researchers to create a reproduction of the boy Pharaoh’s face.

“I was fascinated with his face. The king’s buckteeth was similar to those of his royal ancestors. Meeting him face to face was very personal. … It was an important moment in my life,” the National Geographic quoted Hawass, as saying.

Tutankhamun became a pharaoh at the age of nine, ruling for only ten years in the 14th century BC before meeting an untimely death. (ANI)

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