Over 5,000 Tutankhamun artifacts will be on display at the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) later this year.
We took a look behind the scenes of the labs in Cairo where a lot of the precious objects are currently being restored.
Thirty-three scientists are working hard to restore Tutankhamun’s golden coffin. Charlotte Edwards reports.
The coffin is being carefully restored using small pieces that have fallen off it. Charlotte Edwards reports.
The special hieroglyphs at the bottom of his coffin can be seen here. Charlotte Edwards reports.
The $1.3 billion (£1 billion) building will be the world’s biggest archaeological museum and will host the largest collection of King Tut’s artifacts ever displayed.
Since construction began back in 2012, scientists have been working hard to restore artifacts in nearly laboratory-like conditions specifically built to store them.
In a groundbreaking move, Tutankhamun himself is also intended to be taken to the museum site in May.
The boy king currently rests in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings, where he has reigned for over 3,300 years.
The coffin is over 3,000 years old so some damage and wear are to be expected. Charlotte Edwards reports.
33 The coffin is made of wood and coated in goldCradit: Charlotte Edwards
33 Special tape is currently being used to help some coffin pieces in placeCredit: Charlotte Edwards
33 Some coffin fragments that will be stuck back on can be seen hereCredit: Charlotte Edwards
Many people in Luxor are upset about this prospect, not least because Tutankhamun’s tomb is a big draw for the area.
There are also those who believe that the ‘curse of the pharaohs’ will be set upon anyone who disturbs the rest of an ancient Egyptian King or Queen.
When asked about the curse, Dr. Eltayeb Abbas, director of archaeological affairs at the Grand Egyptian Museum, told us: “I know there are cursed texts and the Egyptians really believe in the power of a curse.
“So they were thinking that by reciting a text that would let things become real.
“But for us, I won’t say so. I am a villager coming from the worst bank [of Luxor] and my family and all the people are believing in the existence of a curse.
“So I don’t have to believe but I have to respect the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians and the existence of a curse.”
33 Thousands of Tutankhamun artefacts are currently being stored away in the GEM labsCredit: Charlotte Edwards
33 Some artefacts from the tomb have never been found by researchers beforeCredit: Charlotte Edwards
33 King Tut was buried with a lot of different bedCredit: Charlotte Edwards
The completion date for the GEM has already been pushed back several times but officials told us they’re officially set to launch in October 2020.
Tutankhamun will have several galleries dedicated to him and over 5,000 of the artefacts found in his tomb.
This includes some new artefacts that have recently been found by researchers.
When archaeologist Howard Carter was excavating King Tut’s tomb back in 1922 he collected a lot of dust and debris from the site.
Scientists recently sifted through this dust and found small wooden objects that they’re still identifying.
33 Some of these objects were recently found in dust gathered from Tutankhamun’s tombCredit: Charlotte Edwards
33 This dust and debris was collected by Howard Carter when he was excavating King Tut’s tomb almost 100 years agoCredit: Charlotte Edwards
33 The young pharaoh was buried with over 100 walking sticksCredit: Charlotte Edwards
33 You wouldn’t think that some of these items were particularly artefactsCredit: Charlotte Edwards
They also discovered that some of the broken artefacts put back together by Howard Carter and his colleagues had been restored incorrectly.
With an increased knowledge of ancient Egypt and new restoration techniques, the scientists are working to correctly piece back together things like jewellery and chariots.
It’s thought some of the objects in King Tut’s tomb were broken or dismantled on purpose so that mourners could fit in.
This included the dismantlement of some of the six chariots found within the gold laden grave.
33 Some of the artefacts, like this beaded necklace, were wrongly put back together by Howard Carter and his teamCredit: Charlotte Edwards
33 New, scientists are working hard to try and restore this necklace to what they think it was intended to look likeCredit: Charlotte Edwards
33 The Grand Egyptian Museum is intended to open later this yearCredit: Charlotte Edwards
33 Experts are working hard to restore lots of different artefacts so that more goods can go on display, including many that aren’t associated with TutankhamunCredit: Charlotte Edwards
Other items, such as the famed Tutankhamun death mask, will be taken from the current Egyptian Museum.
Lots of ancient Egyptian artefacts located around the world will also gain a new home at GEM.
The scale of the building means you’ll probably be unlikely to see the whole thing in a day though so return visits are expected.
GEM will also be home to restaurants, gift shops and a 3D cinema.
If you can’t wait until October to see Tutankhamun’s burial treasures then a lot of them are currently on display at London’s Saatchi Gallery.