King Amenhotep II's damaged toe has been repaired

Nevine El-Aref , Thursday 13 Dec 2012

Damage to mummy of King Amenhotep II was probably caused by leakage of nitrogen from humidity controlled showcase, antiquities minister says

Amenhotep II

The damaged toe of King Amenhotep II has been repaired, a curator at the Egyptian Museum has said.

On Tuesday, curators discovered the big toe on King Amenhotep II’s right foot had fallen off, four months after maintenance had been carried out on the mummy.

Amenhotep II has been on display in the mausoleum of mummies since 1994 alongside 52 other royal mummies from the 17th to the 21st dynasty.

Scientific examinations showed there was a bright material on the rear of the mummy's toe, which could have caused the damage. Anthropologists reattached the toe and repaired some other damage to the mummy caused by it being removed from its humidity controlled showcase.

Each mummy is stored inside a showcase supplied with a small electronic device to observe and control the humidity level.

Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online that early investigations suggest a leakage of nitrogen from Amenhotep II’s showcase was the main reason for the damage. Silica, which is used to seal the showcase, had not been applied properly, causing nitrogen to leak and disturb the regulated environment inside the case, he added.

Silica has been reapplied on the showcase and it has been refilled with nitrogen. A comprehensive maintenance check of all the equipment at the mausoleum of mummies is now under way to prevent damage to other exhibits.

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.

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