CAIRO — A team of German-Egyptian archaeologists and conservators have begun the painstaking work of restoring King Tutankhamun's burial mask, which was damaged by a botched effort to reattach its beard.
The famed pharaoh’s 3,300-year-old mask has been removed from public display at Cairo's Egyptian Museum for the restoration, which was ordered following an accident last year. Egypt's antiquities ministry said in January that the blue and gold braided beard had been knocked off and that the mask was damaged when the beard was hastily glued back on with epoxy.
The team working on the restoration told a press conference Tuesday that they do not know how exactly how long the process to fix the relic will take but that it will be at least a few months before the work is complete.
Restoration specialist Christian Eckmann said the work will be done in two stages — and all decisions on how to proceed must be vetted by a scientific board.
“We have two major components in this project, first, it’s the removal and reattachment of the beard which is done by mechanical means," he said. "The second very important aspect is the technical investigation of the mask, so we try to understand how the mask is manufactured and what kind of material was used in ancient times.”