King Tutankhamun had never left the 3,300-year-old tomb from the time his body was first laid to rest there. Even after British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb in 1922, the outer coffin made from wood and gold stayed in the Valley of Kings — until now.
Earlier this year, the Getty Conservation Institute and the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities finished a nearly 10-year-long restoration of Tut’s tomb. Now, wrote The Los Angeles Times, they’ll restore his golden coffin, removing it from its resting place and allowing experts to finally get a good look.
The intricate project is largely motivated by the impending opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in late 2020, which will overlook the Pyramids of Giza. In addition to the three coffins (one inside the other) that house Tut’s body, the exhibit will showcase the numerous relics discovered in his tomb. The innermost coffin is made of solid gold, while the middle coffin is built from gilded wood and multi-colored glass.
Carter’s discovery of Tut’s resting place in the Valley of the Kings was the first time that a royal tomb from the time of ancient Egypt had been discovered so remarkably intact. It contained a plethora of stunning royal treasures as well, such as a dagger made from meteorite.
After the discovery, two of the three coffins were subsequently transported to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo while the outer coffin was left in the king’s tomb. Only in July, 97 years later, was the casket removed under intense security in order for it to be fumigated for an entire week.
With careful yet thorough restoration now underway, experts have had the rare opportunity to inspect the outer coffin up close and reveal photos for all to see.