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Associated Press: Beard of King Tutankhamun broken, glued back on with inappropriate materials

The Associated Press published today a report entitled “Doubts About Repair of Tutankhamun’s Mask After Beard Break”, indicating that the king’s beard has been glued back on hastily with “epoxy”, as the king’s beard was broken during the cleaning process, according to officials at the Egyptian museum.

The publication referred to asking 3 officials at the Egyptian museum, through a phone call, and each one of them told a different story about the incident that happened last year.

Anonymously, officials said they were instructed to repair the damage as soon as possible, and inappropriate material has been used to glue the beard back on.

“Epoxy, irremovable material, has been used although it’s commonly used in mines or stones, but I think it is inappropriate material and shouldn’t have been used for the golden Tutankhamun mask,” said one of the officials.

“The mask should have been moved to the conservation lab, but they were in a rush to bring it back to the showroom; they used epoxy that gets dry quickly and cannot be removed,” he added. “The glue material caused a gap in the mask between the face and beard”.

Another official at the museum, who was there during the repair process, said, “The Epoxy has become dry on king Tutankhamun’s mask. One of the associates used a tool to scrape off the epoxy, leaving some scratches.”

The first official confirmed to the Associated Press that Tutankhamun mask has some scratches that obviously resulted from using a sharp tool to remove the inappropriate glue material.

“After looking at the pictures, I can say that Tutankhamun’s mask was repaired by I cannot determine which tool was used. We should take good care of all antiques, so any restoration process needs to be done carefully,” Tom Hardwick, Archaeologist. 

One of the officials said investigations kicked off and a meeting was held to tackle this situation, pointing out that Tutankhamun’s mask, 3300 years old, besides other components in his tomb, represent the most important antiques in the museum.

Tutankhamun’s mask was discovered in 1922 by the British archeologist Howard Carter who stirred global interest in Egyptian archeology, especially when he discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb that was almost intact.  

The Associated Press report indicated that no information have been received about the plans of moving Tutankhamun’s fair to the new place in the Grand Egyptian Museum that will be inaugurated in 2018.

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