Thursday, 24 July 2008

Tutankamun goes on display in the Valley of Kings

4 November 2007

85 years ago on the 1st November 1922 a workman of Howard Carter’s discovered a sharp edge in the rock in front of the tomb of Ramses VI in the Valley of kings. Subsequent work revealed this to be a step and over the next couple of days they revealed an entire flight of stairs leading to a sealed door way. Carter sent a telegram to his patron Lord Carnavon who came out to Luxor and on the 22nd November they together revealed the tomb and treasure of Tutankamun.

Today in the Valley of Kings there was another milestone in the history of Tutankamun as the Supreme council of antiquities prepared to move the mummy of the king to a special environment controlled display cabinet. The idea being both to display the mummy and the keep an eye on its condition. Bemused tourists looked on as journalists told the story.

Dr Hawass explained to the Ian chapel BBC journalist that the removal of the golden mask had caused a lot of damage to the mummy. He explained that when he did the CT scan of the body in 2005 he was disturbed by the condition of the mummy and today’s action was to prevent any further damage.

In fact it is a quirk of fate that other mummies are in better condition because they were removed from the embalming fluids and coffins early one where as poor Tutankamun stuck fast and Carter took some very rough and ready means to separate the body of the king from the artefacts.

The actual move of the mummy is taking place at 2:30 today but the media circus started around 9 am and Dr Hawass arrived in the Valley at 9:30. He was giving interviews to the media and spent some time in the inspector’s office with members of the SCA. Here in the photo you can see Dr Sabry, Mr Mansour, Dr Aziz and Kent Weeks and myself.

This move is also part of the fund raising effort going on at the moment. Tutankamun is a great draw and the exhibition touring the states and now Britain has raised loads of money that will be used for the preservation of the monument and the building of the new museum. Another 19 museums are being built as well as the new one at Giza.

Until now the guide books advised against a visit to the tomb of Tutankamun as it was not considered worth its 80LE separate entrance fee. A large percentage of visitors to the Valley never bothered to go inside. Now with the actual mummy on view I am sure that most visitors will want to go inside and see the boy king. This will bring additional fees to the SCA who can use the money in these projects.

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 4th, 2007

No comments: