During a regular clean of the famous golden burial mask of King Tutankhamun, a staff member had accidentally knocked the beard off the 3,300 year old mask. This had taken place during August 2014 at the Egyptian Museum located in Tahrir.
Dr Manding El Damaty, Antiquities Minister had announced to the News Conference about the completion of the restoration of Tutankhamun’s beard at the Egyptian Museum on 17th December 2015. Once the incident occurred, staff members attempted to reattach the beard to the golden mask with the use of epoxy glue, hoping that this would resolve the issue without notice. However, in doing this in the process, they had left scratch marks on the golden artifact after they wiped off the excess glue by means of using a spatula, as reported by LiveScience back in January 2015.
In October 2015, researchers began using 3D scans on the golden mask. Once the information was gained, another four weeks consisted of heating the “metal mask” to be able to remove the epoxy glue, with the use of wooden tools in order not to cause anymore damage to the golden mask, as explained by National Geographic.
Christian Eckrmann being one of the German experts that specialised in restoring Glass and Metal artifacts, was able to assist in fixing the famous burial mask.
While the restoration took place, researchers had come across a golden tube that was situated inside the beard. Dr. El Damaty explains, that this was a interesting find on how the Egyptians structured the burial masks and managing to attaching the royal beards to them. Afterwards, and nine weeks later of restoration, the golden mask had finally been put back onto display for the public at the Egyptian Museum.
According to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the German scientists, the beard was successfully reattached by the use of beeswax. Dr. El Damaty continues, “what’s more Ancient Egyptians also used bees wax to fasten the beard to the mask, a technique replicated by the German researchers during the restoration”.
Friederike Fless, known as the President from the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, explains that the damaged to Tutankhamun’s beard in 2014, was exaggerated since the beard was previously detached by Carter in 1925 as per the examination on the 3D scanning showed. Friederike was also known as one of the German researchers that had partaken in the restoration process, as mentioned by National Geographic.
As National Geographic explains, “the royal beard of Tutankhamun was detached once discovered and until 1946, where it was only re-attached by the use of a soft solder.
Christian Eckrmann, one of the German experts that specialised in restoring glass and metal artifacts, was called upon to assist in fixing the famous burial mask.
Eckrmann explained, that when Howard Carter discovered the tomb and the sarcophagus, he noticed that the golden beard of Tutankhamun’s burial mask was already loose, and in noticing this, Carter “removed it for the first time,” possibly to prevent any damaged to it while removing it from the tomb.
It has been “ninety years after Carter accomplished the first restoration of the mask in December 1925, we have the pleasure to present the mask in its original form”, Eckrmann says.
Tutankhamun’s Golden Burial Mask weighs 11 kilos, and is embedded with precious Egyptian stones and lapis lazuli.
Copyright © 2016 Aleesha Csanki.