A precise replica of Egypt’s tomb of Tutankhamun is due to be installed near the original in December this year, reported UK-based newspaper the Guardian.
Tutankhamun’s tomb is one of the 63 known burial sites in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings and is estimated to be 3,000 years old.
Officials hope the project will prolong the life of the original temple while promoting sustainable tourism in a country that has faced much unrest over the last two years.
After years of hosting visitors many of the pharaonic sites are under severe threat, with restoration efforts likely to cause further problems, according to the Guardian.
“The attempt to fix the tombs to make them visitable is itself now the largest long-term risk to the tombs,” said Adam Lowe, owner of the firm that created the tomb’s replica, to the Guardian.
Lowe’s Spanish-based firm “Factum Arte” led and funded the creation of the tomb's replica under the supervision of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The project could also give visitors the chance to experience other fragile sites that are too delicate to be reopened to the public.
“It’s revolutionary,” Kent Weeks, a leading Egyptologist who has been researching pharaonic sites since the 1960s, said to The Guardian.
“It’s not just a way of protecting the tomb of Tutankhamun, but it's a test case, a model that could be used to protect other sites across the country.”
“It’s a long-term plan that will put Egyptians in charge of documenting their own heritage. With this technology, they'll be able to scan any of their sites. In terms of building a database, it's a godsend, and it could safeguard not just the Valley of the Kings, but all of Egypt's heritage sites,” he added.
Leaders of the project acknowledge that the concept of visiting a replica could seem less appealing but they are inspired by the idea of giving visitors a chance to view an exact image of the crumbling tomb.
“The challenge is to get people to visit the facsimile and say: my god, I can't tell the difference – and what's more, there are things I can experience in the facsimile that I can't in the original,” said Lowe to the newspaper. “We want people going to both, and tweeting and blogging and saying: this is a very interesting moment in the history of conservation, we understand the problem, and the facsimile is better than the original.”