Tutankhamun’s ‘new’ tomb: Made in Spain

Tutankhamun's 'new' tomb: Made in Spain
The Spain-based Factum Foundation collected ultra-high resolution data from the original tomb of Tutankhamun. Photo: Factum
An amazing new replica tomb of the famous final resting place of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun which opened to the public on Thursday was painstakingly assembled in Madrid by a Spanish foundation.

In 1922, British Egyptologist Howard Carter and his team made one of the most famous archaeological finds of all time when they stumbled upon the nearly intact tomb of Egyptian king Tutankhamun in Luxor's Valley of the Kings.

The stunning discovery included the unearthing of a burial mask of the pharaoh whose rule has been dated to more than 3,000 years ago.

The mask itself has become one of the key symbols of ancient Egypt and Tutankhamun's tomb is a must-see for visitors to Luxor.

But with mass tourism taking its toll on the site, Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities settled on an innovative solution to the threat of potential damage: they would build an exact replica.

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The £420,000 (€510,000) project was handed to Madrid-based conservation foundation Factum and in 2009, under the direction of the University of Basel, the company began the slow work of recording the original tomb using high resolution photographic and 3D data.  

The copy of the Egyptian king's burial chamber was then created panel by panel in Madrid.

Work was disrupted by political turmoil in Egypt but the completed tomb opened to the public on Thursday.

"I hope this is the beginning," said project leader Adam Lowe recently.

"This could be a watershed moment where for the first time visitors can really start to talk about sustainable tourism, about how you can preserve the Valley of the Kings itself. It's my dream that it can actually be there in 3,000 years time."

There could be another unexpected advantage to the creation of a new tomb.

The original was rumoured to be subject to the mysterious curse of the pharaohs leading to bad luck, illness or even death for people who tampered with the tombs of Ancient Egypt.    

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