A picture taken on October 20, 2009 shows King Tutankhamun's golden mask displayed at the Egyptian museum in Cairo.
Khaled Desouki—AFP/Getty Images
By Tara John
October 28, 2015

A burst lightbulb, a broken beard and a botched glue job has brought in German specialists to fix the 3,3000-year-old golden burial mask of Egypt’s most famous pharaoh: Tutankhamun.

In August 2014, a lightbulb blew in the cabinet housing Tutankhamun’s death mask. In the process of removing the 26-pound death mask, changing the bulb, and putting the mask back, the beard fell off. Panicked, the workers in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, hastily stuck it back on with epoxy.

“The problem was that they tried to fix it in half an hour and it should have taken them days” said a museum official to the Guardian in January, claims which the museum director Mahmoud el-Halwagy, has vehemently denied.

German antiquities experts Christian Eckmann and Katja Broschat have now been drafted to fix the botched job.

Before they can fix the priceless artefact, they will have to meticulously remove the glue and then the beard. The pair hope to remove the beard in a couple of days’ time.

“S–t happens,” Eckmann, a restorer from the Roman-German museum in Mainz who is currently in Egypt, told dpa. “The glue has to be removed mechanically” he added.

Tutankhamun’s death mask, housed in his tomb at the Valley of the Kings, was discovered in 1922, sparking a worldwide interest in ancient Egypt.

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