Egypt: a sarcophagus of Tutankhamun under restoration in Cairo

Egypt presented the golden sarcophagus of Tutankhamun, in restoration for the first time since its discovery in 1922.

Restoration work began in mid-July after the sarcophagus was transferred from the Valley of the Kings to Luxor (south) at the Great Museum of Egypt in Cairo. “We show you a unique historical object, not only for Egypt but for the world”, said Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany, at a press conference in the Great Museum of Egypt, near the pyramids of Giza. The sarcophagus of the young pharaoh will be on display with other objects related to Tutankhamun at the end of 2020, when this gigantic new museum will be open to the public. The restoration must take eight months.

The most famous pharaoh

The wooden sarcophagus, gilded on the outside, measures 2.23 meters and is decorated with a portrait of the young king bearing the pharaonic symbols, the scepter and the flagellum, according to the Ministry of Antiquities. During the last century, cracks appeared “in the layers of golden plaster, especially those of the lid and the base”, according to the ministry.

Ascended to the throne around 1333 BC, Tutankhamun is arguably the most famous pharaoh in history because of the incredible discovery of his intact tomb in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter. Son of Pharaoh Akhenaten, husband of the legendary queen Nefertiti, “the Pharaoh child” would have come to power at the age of nine and died ten years later of malaria combined with bone disease.

At the beginning of July, Egypt asked Interpol to locate a 3,000-year-old sculpted portrait of Tutankhamun, sold in London for nearly 5.3 million euros, despite opposition from Cairo.