King Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt was undiscovered for around 3,000 years before it was finally discovered by archaeologists. Since 1922 it has been a big tourist attraction. This has caused significant damage as a result of the constant human contact with the tomb. People’s body oils and breath, along with other factors from extended exposure, are taking their toll and parts of the landmark are starting to crumble.To prevent this, a replica of the King Tut tomb will be open to the public this week, which will coincide with a BBC 30 minute special on the new tomb. The special will be hosted by Rajan Datar. This project has been in the works since 2009, they began to painstakingly copy the original tomb using a laser, scanning each and every part of the original tomb.
King tut is most likely one of the most popular Pharaohs of Egypt. He was born sometime around 1361 B.C., and was the youngest Pharaoh in recorded history in Egypt. He took over as Pharaoh at the young age of nine and would rule until his murder/death at the age of 19. King Tut married his half-sister as soon as he came into power. The two daughters she bore were stillborn. He was relatively unknown until the tomb was discovered by Howard Carter, a British archeologist. This new replica of King Tut’s tomb will be reserved for the public to continue viewing a piece of history. While the opening in Luxor, Egypt has some criticism, overall public response has been favorable. When King Tut was alive, it was probably one of the most turbulent times in the history of Egypt, as social and political affairs were in complete disarray.
Other conservation teams are working on preserving sites related to Queen Nefertari and Seti I as well. It is possible that when the success of King Tut’s tomb is revealed, many more tombs and artifacts will be replicated to preserve the integrity of artifacts relating to vital points in history. Some have suggested that the practice may even spread to other countries. This innovative approach may eventually become common, limiting the exposure of sensitive historical sites. It may also help revive tourism, which has been in a decline for many years.
Many people insist that air conditioners be put in and glass be put up to prevent damage, but the consensus of experts is that the tomb, like so many others in Egypt, were not meant to have that much human traffic. At this time there is no technology able to reverse damage once it is made. The easiest route in terms of preventing further damage is to close the tomb. With the current solution, people will still get the viewing pleasure without causing irreparable harm. There are replicas of paintings all over the world which allow people to appreciate the artist’s work, so proponents of the replica tomb are suggesting that this is neither new nor really a stretch as a solution. The fact remains that given the current technology, there are few choices. King Tut’s tomb and the replica are currently open to the public, but they eventually will be closing the original to preserve it. If interested in seeing the original, the window is closing for people to go see it in person in Luxor. As of yet, however, no date has been set for the closing of the original tomb in Egypt.
By Heather Tillman