They Went and Broke King Tut’s Mask!

Jan 23, 2015 at 12:21 pm |


Damage to the mask includes scratching above the beard (Photo credit MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)

We can’t even begin to imagine the moment when a museum curator first broke the beard off of King Tutankhamun. Talk about a bad day.

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo announced yesterday (Jan. 22) that the mask, called “the most famous archaeological relic in the world,” was broken during a cleaning last October. In a desperate attempt to fix the artifact, museum staff tried gluing the beard back onto the golden chin with epoxy, a very strong adhesive. Epoxy, however, is an “irreversible material” that was deemed entirely unsuitable for such a restoration.

The workers further botched the process when they reportedly grabbed a spatula to scrape off the epoxy. Instead, they scraped the priceless golden mask, as seen in the image above. The museum finally reattached the gold-and-blue, braided beard, but there is an apparent gap that is now obvious between the embellishment and the face itself. The scratches on the chin are also permanent.

Conservation groups are appalled by the incident and could possibly sue the antiquities minister.

The mask has been world-famous following its discovery by Howard Carter and George Herbert in 1922. They discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb in near-perfect condition, sparking a renewed interest in ancient Egypt. King Tut became pharaoh at the age of nine and ruled for less than 10 years before his untimely death in 1323 BC.

This is only the latest in a series of injustices done to the boy king. Over the years, the pharaoh’s body suffered from exposure after not being initially re-wrapped by archaeologists. Many of the corpse’s limbs had also been amputated to remove jewelry and other artifacts during primary examinations in the 1920s.

King Tut still has declined to comment regarding the long history of scientists botching his body and personal items, but he looks to be pretty pissed.

King Tut mummy mask broken

(Photo credit CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)

The world’s most famous archaeological artifact was broken by museum workers. See what it looks like now!