Tutankhamun burial mask permanently damaged
It is believed cleaners might broken off the beard of the 3,000-year-old artifact
It appears the curse of Tutankhamun might be real after all – at least for some of the museum staff who are charged with maintaining the artifacts.
Employees at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo had to glue the 3,000-year-old burial mask of pharaoh Tutankhamun back together after its blue and gold beard was snapped off, according to media reports.
It is not clear how the damage occurred, whether it happened during cleaning or if it was removed because it was loose.
And to make matters worse, it now seems that a hastily performed repair job might have actually caused even more damage due to the use of the wrong kind of glue.
Worse still it is thought that some of the glue dried on the mask, which was then scraped off using a spatula leaving scratch marks.
According to museum sources speaking on condition of anonymity, orders for a “quick fix” led to the ill-judged decision, the Mail Online reported.
“Unfortunately he used a very irreversible material - epoxy has a very high property for attaching and is used on metal or stone but I think it wasn’t suitable for an outstanding object like Tutankhamun’s golden mask,” one curator told the website.
“The mask should have been taken to the conservation lab but they were in a rush to get it displayed quickly again and used this quick drying, irreversible material,” they added.
The curator explained that there was now a gap visible between the face and the beard, which previously did not exist.
Now the Antiquities Ministry has launched an inquiry into the incident.
The ancient artifact and other relics found in the boy king’s tomb are among Cairo’s most popular attractions.
It is thought the incident occurred last August, but has only just come to light following the revelation of a photograph of the botched repair.
The burial mask was discovered in 1922, along with the pharaoh’s nearly intact tomb by Egyptologist Howard Carter.
Egypt’s tourism industry has struggled to recover following the violent Arab Spring that saw the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.