Curators at the Egyptian Museum have discovered the big toe on King Amenhotep II’s right foot has fallen off, four months after maintenance was carried out on the royal mummy.
Hala Hassan, head of the scientific archaeological committee, said examinations had revealed there was bright material on the rear of the mummy's toe which could be behind the damage.
This material could be glue or gum used to join the toe to the foot, Hassan said, and the team would send a sample of it to the museum lab for analysis.
Hassan told Ahram Online that an investigation would be made into the maintenance work that took place before the damage occurred to discover if lessons could be learned.
“It is really a great loss and a sign of negligence and poor administration,” an archaeologist, who requested anonymity, told Ahram Online. The mausoleum of mummies first opened in 1994 and periodical maintenance had previously taken place without incident, he added.
King Amenhotep II (1427-1401 BC) was the seventh pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. He inherited the throne after the death of his father King Tuthmose III. He fought much less than his father, and his reign saw the effective cessation of hostilities between Egypt and Mitanni, the major kingdoms vying for power in Syria.
The mausoleum of mummies, on the museum's second floor, includes of two halls in which 53 royal mummies from the 17th to the 21st dynasties are on display. Both galleries are designed like a royal tomb, with a vaulted ceiling and low, indirect lighting. The first hall exhibits mummies from the 17th, 18th and 19th dynasties. This era includes pharaohs that led the liberation wars against Hyksos. The second hall includes mummies belonging to members of the 20th dynasty such as Pharaoh Ramses III, and to priests of Amun who ruled the southern half of Egypt as priest-kings. These priest-kings proclaimed Thebes as Egypt's religious capital and founded the 21st dynasty. Among them was Pinudjem II, an important ruler of the Third Intermediate Period.