King Tut is one of the most iconic figures in all of ancient Egypt, and possibly the most recognizable feature attributed to him is the beard on his gold burial mask. In the year 2014, a group of Egyptians who were handling the cover accidentally broke the beard off of his mask. In the attempt to hide their blunder, they used a plain epoxy adhesive to glue the beard back on. To try to remove some of the adhesive residue, they used sharp instruments, including scalpels. The result was that the priceless beard was scratched.
The team of Egyptian researchers claimed that the beard fell off while they were cleaning it. Others said that it just fell off because it was so old and had been handled so much. Still, they were charged with gross negligence of a national treasure. A German-Egyptian team repaired some of the damage and used beeswax – the adhesive that is customarily used on antiquities – to attach the beard to the mask. Other conservation efforts are in place to help make sure that the priceless treasures of King Tut, now viewed as part of our global heritage, are preserved for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.
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