Going Global: Museum employees to stand trial for damage to King Tut mask

Eight employees of the Egyptian Museum will stand trial for negligence after a yearlong investigation into the botched reattachment of a piece of King Tutankhamen’s mask.

The over 3,000-year-old artifact is not only revered historical artifact in Egypt, but is also one of the nation’s biggest tourist attractions.

Though there are differing accounts of how the beard was initially damaged — ranging from loosening with age to breaking off when the mask fell during a routine cleaning — it is agreed that the reattachment process was hasty and reckless, and carried out using excessive amount of the wrong type of glue.

“The (museum) officials dealt recklessly with a piece of an artifact that is 3,300 years old, produced by one of the oldest civilizations in the world,” the Administrative Prosecution said in a statement to Ahram Online.

The cover-up left a noticeable gap between the face and the beard — one that the accused later made four attempt to remedy before the truth came to light.

Prosecutors were quoted in The Daily News Egypt as saying, “Ignoring all scientific methods of restoration, the suspects tried to conceal their crime by using sharp metal tools to remove parts of the glue that became visible, thus damaging the 3,000-year-old piece without a moment of conscience.”

The staffs to face trial include six restorers and two former heads of the museum’s restoration section.

The mask has since been correctly restored by a team of German conservators, and as of the December is back on public display.

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