“Exploring the Grand Egyptian Museum: Where Tutankhamun’s Coffin, Sealed for Thousands of Years, and Rare Ancient Treasures are Kept.”

March 29, 2024

OVER 5,000 Tutankhamun artefacts will be on display at the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) later this year.

We took a look behind the scenes of the labs in Cairo where a lot of the precious objects are currently being restored.

 The scientists are working hard to restore Tutankhamun's golden coffin33The scientists are working hard to restore Tutankhamun’s golden coffinCredit: Charlotte Edwards The coffin is being carefully restored using small pieces that have fallen off it33The coffin is being carefully restored using small pieces that have fallen off itCredit: Charlotte Edwards The special hieroglyphs at the bottom of his coffin can be seen here33The special hieroglyphs at the bottom of his coffin can be seen hereCredit: Charlotte Edwards

The $1.3billion (£1billion) building will be the world’s biggest archaeological museum and will host the largest collection of King Tut’s artefacts ever displayed.

Since construction began back in 2012, scientists have been working hard to restore artefacts in nearby laboratories specifically built to store them.

In a controversial move, Tutankhamun himself is also intended to be taken to the museum site in May.

The boy king currently resides in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, where he has rested for over 3,300 years.

 The coffin is over 3,000 years old so some damage and wear and tear is to be expected33The coffin is over 3,000 years old so some damage and wear and tear is to be expectedCredit: Charlotte Edwards The coffin is made of wood and coated in gold33The coffin is made of wood and coated in goldCredit: Charlotte Edwards Special tape is currently being used to hold some coffin pieces in place33Special tape is currently being used to hold some coffin pieces in placeCredit: Charlotte Edwards Some coffin fragments that will be stuck back on can be seen here33Some coffin fragments that will be stuck back on can be seen hereCredit: Charlotte Edwards

Many people in Luxor are upset about this prospect, not least because Tutankhamun’s tomb is a big tourism draw for the area.

There are also those who believe that the ‘curse of the pharaohs’ will be set upon anyone who disturbs the resting place of an ancient Egyptian King or Queen.

When asked about the curse, Dr Eltayeb Abbas, director of archaeological affairs at the Grand Egyptian Museum, told us: “I know there are cursed texts and the Egyptians really believed in the power of the word.

“So they were thinking that by reciting a text that would let things become real.

“But for us I wouldn’t say so. I am a villager coming from the west bank [of Luxor] and my family and all the people are believing in the existence of a curse.

“So I don’t have to believe but I have to respect the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians and the existence of a curse.”

 Thousands of Tutankhamun artefacts are currently being stored away in the GEM labs33Thousands of Tutankhamun artefacts are currently being stored away in the GEM labsCredit: Charlotte Edwards Some artefacts from the tomb have never been displayed to the public before33Some artefacts from the tomb have never been displayed to the public beforeCredit: Charlotte Edwards King Tut was buried with a lot of different beds33King Tut was buried with a lot of different bedsCredit: Charlotte Edwards

The completion date for the Grand Egyptian Museum has already been pushed back several times but officials told us they’re hoping to officially launch in October 2020.

Tutankhamun will have several galleries dedicated to him and over 5,000 of the artefacts found in his tomb.

This includes some new artefacts that have recently been found by researchers.

When archaeologist Howard Carter was excavating King Tut’s tomb back in 1922 he collected a lot of dust and debris from the site.

Scientists recently sifted through this dust and found small wooden objects that they’re still identifying.

 Some of these objects were recently found in dust gathered from Tutankhamun's tomb33Some of these objects were recently found in dust gathered from Tutankhamun’s tombCredit: Charlotte Edwards This dust and debris was collected by Howard Carter when he was excavating King Tut's tomb almost 100 years ago33This dust and debris was collected by Howard Carter when he was excavating King Tut’s tomb almost 100 years agoCredit: Charlotte Edwards The young pharaoh was buried with over 100 walking sticks33The young pharaoh was buried with over 100 walking sticksCredit: Charlotte Edwards You wouldn't think that some of these items were priceless artefacts33You wouldn’t think that some of these items were priceless artefactsCredit: Charlotte Edwards

They also discovered that some of the broken artefacts put back together by Howard Carter and his colleagues had been restored incorrectly.

With an increased knowledge of ancient Egypt and new restoration techniques, the scientists are working to correctly piece back together things like jewellery and chariots.

It’s thought some of the objects in King Tut’s tomb were broken or dismantled on purpose so that more goods could fit in.

This included the dismantlement of some of the six chariots found within the gold laden grave.

 Some of the artefacts, like this bird necklace, were wrongly put back together by Howard Carter and his team33Some of the artefacts, like this bird necklace, were wrongly put back together by Howard Carter and his teamCredit: Charlotte Edwards Now, scientists are working hard to try and restore this necklace to what they think it was intended to look like33Now, scientists are working hard to try and restore this necklace to what they think it was intended to look likeCredit: Charlotte Edwards The Grand Egyptian Museum is intended to open later this year33The Grand Egyptian Museum is intended to open later this yearCredit: Charlotte Edwards Experts are working hard to restore lots of different artefacts so they can go on display, including many that aren't associated with Tutankhamun33Experts are working hard to restore lots of different artefacts so they can go on display, including many that aren’t associated with TutankhamunCredit: Charlotte Edwards

Other items, such as the famed Tutankhamun death mask, will be taken from the current Egyptian Museum.

Lots of ancient Egyptian artefacts located around the world will find a new home at GEM.

Tickets for the museum are expected to cost around 400 Egyptian Pounds, which is about £20 or $25.

The sheer scale of the building means you’ll probably be unlikely to see the whole thing in a day though so return visits are expected.

GEM will also be home to restaurants, gift shops and a 3D cinema.

If you can’t wait until October to see Tutankhamun’s burial treasures then a lot of them are currently on display at London’s Saatchi Gallery.

 Sometimes grave goods were broken up on purpose so that as many items as possible could be squeezed into the tomb33Sometimes grave goods were broken up on purpose so that as many items as possible could be squeezed into the tombCredit: Charlotte Edwards The coffin is even has detailed hieroglyphs on the inside33The coffin is even has detailed hieroglyphs on the insideCredit: Charlotte Edwards It was only recently moved from Tut's tomb in the Valley of the Kings, sparking 'curse of the pharaoh' fears33It was only recently moved from Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, sparking ‘curse of the pharaoh’ fearsCredit: Charlotte Edwards All these fragments need to be reapplied33All these fragments need to be reappliedCredit: Charlotte Edwards The hieroglyph that depicts a human face is a preposition that means "to" or "upon"33The hieroglyph that depicts a human face is a preposition that means “to” or “upon”Credit: Charlotte Edwards Restoration on this priceless coffin began last year33Restoration on this priceless coffin began last yearCredit: Charlotte Edwards The coffin is still stained with some ancient black resin that was thought to be poured over it as a funeral practice33The coffin is still stained with some ancient black resin that was thought to be poured over it as a funeral practiceCredit: Charlotte Edwards The coffin is covered in intricate designs33The coffin is covered in intricate designsCredit: Charlotte Edwards This coffin was actually encasing two more coffins33This coffin was actually encasing two more coffinsCredit: Charlotte Edwards Tutankhamun was also buried with six complete but dismantled chariots33Tutankhamun was also buried with six complete but dismantled chariotsCredit: Charlotte Edwards Experts are still working to put them back together33Experts are still working to put them back togetherCredit: Charlotte Edwards The restoring process is very intricate33The restoring process is very intricateCredit: Charlotte Edwards The scientists still rely on Howard Carters documentation of the tomb33The scientists still rely on Howard Carters documentation of the tombCredit: Charlotte Edwards A lot of the chariots are plated with gold33A lot of the chariots are plated with goldCredit: Charlotte Edwards They're also covered in precious stones such as lapis lazuli