An attempt to reattach King Tutankhamun's beard to his burial mask with glue will lead to charges against eight employees at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo for negligence.
The mask's damage was discovered in 2014, but there have been varying accounts about how it happened, said CNN
. A museum conservator said then that the beard broke off from the mask when it fell during cleaning.
The conservator said strong glue was used to reattach the blue-and-gold braided beard but it left a gap between the beard and face. Some museum officials denied the mask was damaged initially while others said the beard loosened with age.
"Ignoring all scientific methods of restoration, the suspects tried to conceal their crime by using sharp metal tools to remove parts of the glue that became visible, thus damaging the 3,000-year-old piece without a moment of conscience," the Administrative Prosecution said in a statement reported on by Daily News Egypt
The suspects are two restorers, four senior restoration experts, the former director of restoration, and the museum's former director.
They are accused of the "unrefined restoration of the mask and negligence of the artifact," said Daily News Egypt. Authorities said the mask is "under the responsibility of the museum."
The prosecutors said the restorers botched technical procedures in moving the mask from the museum's showroom on Aug. 12, 2014, and caused the beard to be damaged.
"The (museum) officials dealt recklessly with a piece of an artifact that is 3,300 years old, produced by one of the oldest civilizations in the world."
King Tutankhamun's burial mask was found in his tomb in 1922 and continues to be a top tourist attraction in Egypt, said CNN. The boy king ruled from 1336-1327 B.C. and was believed to be 17 years old when he died.
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