Tuesday, September 9, 2014

News: Tutankhamen Treasures, other items transferred to Grand Egyptian Museum

An Egyptian conservator cleans a papyri sandal from
 the collection of King Tutankhamun - AP/Amr Nabil
CAIRO: One hundred and thirty-five artifacts have been transferred from the Egyptian museum in Tahrir Square to the under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in preparation for the latter’s inauguration in August 2015, according to Ahmed Sharaf, head of the Museums Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities Thursday.

The transferred artifacts, which date back to different Egyptian historical periods, include diorite stone palettes, papyrus scrolls, painted pottery, cosmetic palettes, a painted wood figure of an official, coffin fragments, a wooden sarcophagus mask and bronze statues of the goddess Isis and god Horus, Sharaf told The Cairo Post. “So far, 14,820 artifacts have been transferred to the GEM from other museums and archaeological sites across Egypt,” said Sharaf, who pointed out that eventually 100,000 pieces will be transferred to the GEM.

A winged scarab pectoral brooch and a royal scepter from Pharaoh Tutankhamen are also among the transferred items, Basem Hamad, a member of the GEM’s artifacts transfer committee, told The Cairo Post Thursday. The artifacts will be renovated and prepared for display in bigger sections operated with the most updated technology systems, Hamad added.

The GEM is being built over an area of 117 acres and is considered the largest Pharaonic museum ever built. Its foundation stone was laid in February 2002. Under the supervision of UNESCO and the International Union of Architects (UIA), an international architectural competition to design the GEM was launched in 2002. A design from Irish architecture firm Heneghan Peng was chosen.

The cost of the project is estimated at $550 million and is being funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and a fund raising campaign. It is expected to be inaugurated in mid-August 2015.

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