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The decade-long restoration of an Egyptian pharaoh’s tomb finally ended in January.
The tomb of Tutankhamun [toot-ahng-kah-MUH N] or King Tut was discovered in 1922. Since then, it has become a popular tourist attraction in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. Unfortunately, the constant entry of people caused damages to the tomb’s 3,000-year-old structures, artifacts, and treasures.
To repair the damages, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities partnered with the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), an organization that works to preserve cultural heritage, in 2009. Apart from fixing the damages, the two institutions wanted to protect the tomb from further deterioration.
During the restoration work, the experts from the GCI focused on fixing the scratches to the murals, which show King Tut’s life. They touched up the murals and removed dust that had accumulated over the years.
The experts also upgraded the tomb’s infrastructure. They set up barriers to restrict tourists from accessing the paintings and added a viewing platform, new walkways, signs, and lights. An air filtration system was also installed to control humidity, carbon dioxide levels, and dust in the tomb.
After the restoration was completed, the site was reopened to the public.
Zahi Hawass, an Egyptian archaeologist, commended the massive restoration project, saying that it had saved King Tut’s tomb. However, he warned that if large groups of tourists continue to visit the site, it will face fast deterioration. Hence, he recommended either limiting the number of tourists or completely closing the tomb to the public. He urged people to visit a lifelike replica of the tomb nearby instead.