The 3,300-year-old burial mask of Tutankhamun was reportedly broken by a cleaner who then stuck it back together with cheap superglue.
The mask was discovered in 1922 by British archaeologists Howard Carter and George Herbert and is on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. It’s made from 11kg of solid gold.
It also now sports an ugly gap between the face and the beard. The Associated Press reports it was also scratched by one employee using a spatula to try to scrape off the excess dried glue.
The AP reports the accident has only just come to light, but happened some time around October last year.
London-based Arabic news site Al Araby Al Jadeed said lighting around the mask has been dimmed in an attempt to hide the damage.
— العربي الجديد (@alaraby_ar) January 22, 2015
Officials at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo are yet to get the full story on how the mask’s blue-and-gold beard came to be broken.
Museum workers have different stories about the accident, but it’s clear the beard was stuck back on with “a very irreversible property”.
“Unfortunately … 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 conservator told the AP.
One source from the scene claims the beard was actually taken off because it was loose.
Another report from Cairo Scene claims the head of the museum’s renovations team called her husband when the mask was discovered broken, who went ahead with the epoxy fix.
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