Egypt fixing Tutankhamun mask after botched epoxy repair

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NTP: Restoring King Tutankhamun's Mask
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Egypt fixing Tutankhamun mask after botched epoxy repair
CAIRO, EGYPT - OCTOBER 20: German expert Christihan Eijkman restarted the restoration of one of the priceless pieces of the time of the Pharoahs, King Tutankhamun's mummy's golden mask, due to the failure of the first restoration attempt at the Egyptian Museum in the capital Cairo on October 20, 2015. (Photo by Mahmoud Bakkar /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - OCTOBER 20: German expert Christihan Eijkman (R) restarted the restoration of one of the priceless pieces of the time of the Pharoahs, King Tutankhamun's mummy's golden mask, due to the failure of the first restoration attempt at the Egyptian Museum in the capital Cairo on October 20, 2015. (Photo by Mahmoud Bakkar /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - OCTOBER 20: German expert Christihan Eijkman restarted the restoration of one of the priceless pieces of the time of the Pharoahs, King Tutankhamun's mummy's golden mask, due to the failure of the first restoration attempt at the Egyptian Museum in the capital Cairo on October 20, 2015. (Photo by Mahmoud Bakkar /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - OCTOBER 20: German expert Christihan Eijkman (R 2) restarted the restoration of one of the priceless pieces of the time of the Pharoahs, King Tutankhamun's mummy's golden mask, due to the failure of the first restoration attempt at the Egyptian Museum in the capital Cairo on October 20, 2015. (Photo by Mahmoud Bakkar /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
The golden mask of Tutankhamun is seen during restoration process by German specialists in restoration work on antiquities in glass and metal at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo on October 20, 2015. Egypt started work to remove a crust of dried glue on the beard of legendary boy pharaoh Tutankhamun's golden mask after a botched repair job on the priceless relic. The beard fell off in an August 2014 accident at the Cairo Museum, leading to the botched repair by employees. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - OCTOBER 20: German expert Christihan Eijkman restarted the restoration of one of the priceless pieces of the time of the Pharoahs, King Tutankhamun's mummy's golden mask, due to the failure of the first restoration attempt at the Egyptian Museum in the capital Cairo on October 20, 2015. (Photo by Mahmoud Bakkar /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
German specialists in restoration work on antiquities in glass and metal, Christian Eckmann (R) and Katja Broschat (L), work on the restoration process of the golden mask of Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo on October 20, 2015. Egypt started work to remove a crust of dried glue on the beard of legendary boy pharaoh Tutankhamun's golden mask after a botched repair job on the priceless relic. The beard fell off in an August 2014 accident at the Cairo Museum, leading to the botched repair by employees. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
German specialists in restoration work on antiquities in glass and metal Christian Eckmann works on the restoration process of the golden mask of Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo on October 20, 2015. Egypt started work to remove a crust of dried glue on the beard of legendary boy pharaoh Tutankhamun's golden mask after a botched repair job on the priceless relic. The beard fell off in an August 2014 accident at the Cairo Museum, leading to the botched repair by employees. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
German specialists in restoration work on antiquities in glass and metal Christian Eckmann works on the restoration process of the golden mask of Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo on October 20, 2015. Egypt started work to remove a crust of dried glue on the beard of legendary boy pharaoh Tutankhamun's golden mask after a botched repair job on the priceless relic. The beard fell off in an August 2014 accident at the Cairo Museum, leading to the botched repair by employees. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
German restorers Christian Eckmann and Katja Broschat begin work on the restoration of the famed golden mask of King Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum, in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
German restorers Christian Eckmann, right, and Katja Broschat examine the famed golden mask of King Tutankhamun as an Egyptian-German team begins restoration work over a year after the beard was accidentally broken off and hastily glued back with epoxy, at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. The 3,300-year-old burial pharaonic mask was discovered in Tutankhamun's tomb along with other artifacts by British archeologists in 1922, sparking worldwide interest in archaeology and ancient Egypt. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
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CAIRO (AP) — Restorers put their work on the famed golden burial mask of King Tutankhamun on display in Cairo on Tuesday, over a year after the beard was accidentally knocked off and hastily glued back on with epoxy.

A German-Egyptian team of experts showed off the mask in a laboratory in the Egyptian Museum, detailing plans for how the epoxy will be scraped off and the beard carefully removed before being reattached by a method to be determined by a joint scientific committee.

Christian Eckmann, the lead restoration specialist, said the work should take a month or two, depending on how long it takes to remove the beard, which will be attached after research into how the mask and beard attachment were originally made and joined.

"We have some uncertainties now, we don't know how deep the glue went inside the beard, and so we don't know how long it will take to remove the beard," he said on the sidelines of a news conference with Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty and Tarek Tawfik, director-general of the still-under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum near the pyramids.

"We try to make all the work by mechanical means ... we use wooden sticks which work quite well at the moment, then there is another strategy we could implement, slightly warming up the glue," he said. "It's unfortunately epoxy resin which is not soluble."

A museum employee knocked the beard off during work on the relic's lighting in August 2014, after which it was hastily reattached with epoxy. When the error was revealed in January, the Antiquities Ministry quickly called a press conference where Eckmann said he and an Egyptian team could fix the epoxy-job and avoid permanent damage.

The 3,300-year-old pharaonic mask was discovered in Tutankhamun's tomb along with other artifacts by British archeologists in 1922, sparking worldwide interest in archaeology and ancient Egypt.

It is arguably the best-known piece in the museum, one of Cairo's main tourist sites, which was built in 1902 and houses ancient Egyptian artifacts and mummies.

Eckmann said that during the restoration, experts would conduct a detailed study of the mask's ancient manufacture technique that had not been done previously to determine what materials and techniques were used.

"We are using this chance to gain new information about the manufacture," he said.

Efforts Underway To Fix King Tut's 3,300-Year-Old Mask


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