By Tim Binnall
For the first time since its discovery nearly a century ago, the gilded coffin of Egypt's King Tutankhamun was removed from its tomb as part of a comprehensive restoration project. The priceless treasure was reportedly transported to the under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum a few weeks ago using a variety of safeguards in order to ensure that the piece was not damaged during the sixteen-hour journey. It was subsequently placed in isolation for seven days and is now currently undergoing fumigation which is scheduled to last three weeks.
After this initial sterilization treatment is complete, experts at the facility will begin work on restoring the piece which has sustained a number of cracks and other blemishes due to humidity and high temperatures inside its tomb. The project is expected to take around nine months to complete. This past weekend Egyptian officials allowed reporters to see the coffin in the museum's restoration center, where it is housed inside of a special protective incubator.
Once the restoration is finished, the wondrous work of ancient art will become the centerpiece of the massive Grand Egyptian Museum when it opens next year. This particular piece was the outermost layer of three coffins which housed the mummified body of the boy king and, for the first time since 1922, all three pieces will be together once again as the other two had been taken out of the tomb and put on display in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, but will now be brought to the newly constructed facility.