Tourists in Egypt, Rejoice: King Tut's Famous Gold Mask Is Back

Kirstin Fawcett
Getty / Getty

A little over a year ago, history buffs around the world gave a collective gasp of horror when news broke that conservators at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo had accidentally damaged King Tutankhamun’s iconic gold mask. A failed attempt to reattach the mask's blue-and-gold braided beard with epoxy glue had left it with glue residue and scratches.

Now, the Associated Press reports that the burial mask has been fixed, and is officially back on display at the museum. To repair the mask, restoration specialists used beeswax to glue back on the beard, and removed the epoxy with wooden tools, spatulas, and other tools.

According to National Geographic, the Egyptian Museum also 3D scanned the mask. They discovered that the beard—which had previously fallen off in 1946—was reattached using soft solder, and was connected to the mask via an internal tube. These new findings will be included in a forthcoming book chronicling the mask’s restoration.

The mask is both an important archaeological discovery and an attraction that brings in millions of dollars in tourism revenue. Considering that Egypt's number of foreign visitors has dipped precipitously in recent years, the nation can't afford to lose any of its legendary attractions.

[h/t National Geographic, Associated Press]