Egypt Sends 8 to Trial Over Botched King Tut Mask

Cairo less than impressed with workers it says knocked off beard, glued it back on
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 24, 2016 9:31 AM CST
Egypt Sends 8 to Trial Over Botched King Tut Mask
In this Jan. 24, 2015 file photo, the gold mask of King Tutankhamun in a glass case during a press tour, in the Egyptian Museum near Tahrir Square, Cairo.   (Hassan Ammar)

Eight Egyptians involved in a botched repair of the famed burial mask of King Tut, which was corrected late last year, were referred to a disciplinary court Sunday for "gross negligence." The 3,300-year old mask, whose beard was accidentally knocked off and hastily glued on with epoxy in 2014, was scratched and damaged as a result of the amateur repair job, prosecutors said in a statement, which implicated the then-head of the Egyptian Museum and the chief of the restoration department. "In an attempt to cover up the damage they inflicted, they used sharp instruments ... to remove traces of adhesive on the mask, causing damage and scratches that remain," it said, citing an investigation. The eight now face fines and disciplinary measures including dismissal.

The mask was put back on display last month after a German-Egyptian team of specialists removed the epoxy and reattached the beard using beeswax, used as an adhesive in antiquity. A year ago, a museum conservator who was present at the time of the repair told the AP that epoxy had dried on the face of the boy king's mask and that a colleague used a spatula to remove it, leaving scratches. Another conservator who inspects the artifact regularly also saw the scratches and said it was clear that they had been made by a tool used to scrape off the epoxy. Lately, King Tut has been at the focus of new archaeology and media buzz. (More King Tut stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.