CAIRO (Reuters) – The Egyptian Museum in Cairo acknowledged on Saturday that one of its greatest treasures, the mask of King Tutankhamun, had been crudely glued back together after being damaged, but insisted the item could be restored to its former glory.
The beard broke off when museum workers were changing the lights in its display case and accidentally touched the mask, the antiquities ministry said.
Christian Eckmann, a German conservator brought in to evaluate the damage, told reporters on Saturday that the seriousness of the damage had been exaggerated.
However, gluing the boy king’s beard on is not unprecedented.
The beard was not fixed to the mask when it was excavated, Eckmann said, and the artefact was brought to the Egyptian Museum with its beard unattached in 1924.
It was not until 1941 that the beard piece was reattached to the mask with glue that has dete-riorated over the past 70 years, making the accident in August more likely, Eckmann said.