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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Eight museum employees to face trial for botched restoration of King Tut mask

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Saturday 23 Jan 2016
King Tut
A golden funerary mask of King Tutankhamun is on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 4682

Prosecutors referred for trial on Saturday eight Egyptian Museum employees charged with negligence in relation to the botched restoration of King Tutankhamun's gold death mask in 2014.

"The officials dealt recklessly with a piece of an artefact that is 3,300 years old, produced by one of the oldest civilisations in the world," a statement by the Administrative Prosecution read.

The eight include two restorers, four restoration specialists, and two former heads of the restoration section at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo where the Tutankhamun collection is displayed.

The employees are being tried on charges of negligence and violation of the professional rules of the workplace, the statement read.

In restorations in August, October and November in 2014, the officials caused damages and scratches that are still visible on the mask, the statement read.

In an incident that garnered international headlines, the mask's beard became detached during work on the lighting of the display in August 2014 and was then hastily reattached with epoxy.

In a press conference in January 2015 held by Egypt's antiquities ministry, restoration specialist Christian Eckmann said the epoxy could be removed and the mask properly restored.

Eckmann said the beard had likely loosened over the years and has been detached previously.

The 3,300-year-old burial pharaonic mask was discovered in Tutankhamun's tomb along with other artefacts by British archaeologists in 1922, sparking worldwide interest in archaeology and ancient Egypt.

The mask is arguably the best-known piece in the museum, which houses artefacts from ancient Egypt.

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