3,300-year-old mask of King Tut needs its beard fixed German restorers Christian Eckmann, right, and Katja Broschat examine the famed golden mask of King Tutankhamun as an Egyptian-German team begins restoration work over a year after the beard was accidentally broken off and hastily glued back with epoxy, at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
3,300-year-old mask of King Tut needs its beard fixed
Lexile

Restorers have put their work on the famed golden burial mask of King Tutankhamun on display in Cairo, over a year after the beard was accidentally knocked off and glued back on with epoxy.
 
A German-Egyptian team of experts showed off the mask Oct. 20 in a laboratory in the Egyptian Museum. The experts described plans for how the epoxy will be scraped off and the beard carefully removed before being reattached by a method to be determined by a joint scientific committee.
 
Christian Eckmann, the lead restoration specialist, said the work should take a month or two. It will depend on how long it takes to remove the beard, which will be attached after research into how the mask and beard attachment were originally made and joined.
 
"We have some uncertainties now. We don't know how deep the glue went inside the beard. And so we don't know how long it will take to remove the beard," he said on the sidelines of a news conference with Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty and Tarek Tawfik, director-general of the still-under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum. It is near the pyramids.
 
"We try to make all the work by mechanical means ... we use wooden sticks which work quite well at the moment.  Then there is another strategy we could implement, slightly warming up the glue," he said. "It's unfortunately epoxy resin, which is not soluble."
 
A museum employee knocked the beard off during work on the relic's lighting in August 2014. It was hastily reattached with epoxy. When the error was revealed in January, the Antiquities Ministry called a press conference. Eckmann said he and an Egyptian team could fix the epoxy-job and avoid permanent damage.
 
The 3,300-year-old pharaonic mask was discovered in Tutankhamun's tomb along with other artifacts by British archeologists in 1922. The discovery sparked worldwide interest in archaeology and ancient Egypt.
 
It is arguably the best-known piece in the museum, one of Cairo's main tourist sites, which was built in 1902. The museum houses ancient Egyptian artifacts and mummies.
 
Eckmann said that during the restoration, experts would conduct a detailed study of the mask's ancient manufacture technique that had not been done previously. The goal is to determine what materials and techniques were used.
 
"We are using this chance to gain new information about the manufacture," he said.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why can't experts be certain about all aspects of the repair?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (33)
  • anthonyr-
    10/29/2015 - 03:41 p.m.

    So the mask is covered with gold. And they don't know if it's king TUT's or not.

  • mathewb-day
    10/30/2015 - 04:27 p.m.

    This is an amazing opportunity for scientist to discover how ancient Egyptian jewelry and culture. I wonder what will be discovered from accidentally knocking off that beard.

  • erinu-day
    11/01/2015 - 06:15 p.m.

    Tutankhamun's mask is such an icon for people all around the world. When ancient Egypt is discussed the mask and the name King Tut are something that everyone knows. Its really quite interesting as to how much science goes into the restoration process. It is important that the restorers keep everything as close as possible to how the mask was originally made to keep its historical significance and importance the same.

  • jacobt-lam
    11/02/2015 - 12:03 p.m.

    This is an old artifact that should be fixed well because it was part of our history and other extremely important things. We found an extremely important artifact and when damaged it needs to be repaired and they did that.

  • nickg-lam
    11/02/2015 - 01:31 p.m.

    This is an important piece of information of the Egyptians, and one of the few pieces of information that we have of it. They should repair it to the best of their abilities.

  • heatherv-lam
    11/02/2015 - 04:59 p.m.

    I think it's good that they are repairing such an important and significant historical artifact so carefully. But, I also think that whoever knocked of the beard and glued it back on with epoxy should be held accountable. I get that everyone makes mistakes, but trying to hide it by repairing such an important thing so badly without permission is worth punishing someone for.

  • tylers-day
    11/04/2015 - 04:38 p.m.

    In my opinion I think that we should have just left the mask and everything where it was. I think this because I think there is no reason to mess with such a historic piece. Also it would eliminate the chances of someone breaking it. With that being said the people repairing the mask need to fix the mask in a way that would be correct to King Tuts time.

  • abbyf-lam
    11/05/2015 - 09:21 p.m.

    I was wondering what epoxy was, so I looked it up. It is a glue or an adhesive made from synthetic thermosetting polymers containing epoxide groups. This means that it is a man-made substance made of polymers that sets permanently after being exposed to an amount of heat.




    (https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=what+is+epoxy)
    (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/polymer?s=t)
    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermosetting_polymer)

  • nikolasm-day
    11/06/2015 - 11:57 a.m.

    If I was the person who knocked off the mask, I do not think I would go out in public. Fortunately, the mask is going to be restored better than it was before. It is really exciting if you were one of the workers on the project to restore it. You would actually be working on, and touching King Tut's mask. I also think the method that they are using to restore it is interesting too. Hopefully all goes well and we have a fully restored piece of history.

  • arushim-cal
    11/09/2015 - 04:49 p.m.

    They don't want to ruin the treasured Egyptian iconic mask. If they try to find more problems with the mask they may break it more.

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