CAIRO – Egypt safely moved two artifacts, a funerary bed and a chariot, belonging to the famed pharaoh King Tutankhamun on Tuesday, from the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo to a new one across the city, which will house a large collection of the ancient monarch's items.
The two gold-plated pieces are part of a bigger batch of King Tut's items that will be gradually moved to the Grand Egyptian museum, which is still under construction just west of the Giza pyramids.
In large sealed wooden boxes, the unique items were carried, crossing a distance of about 22 kilometers (13.6 miles) while surrounded by police cars. Upon their arrival to the site of the museum, the items were placed inside a restoration room, where they will be kept until the artifacts adapt to the new atmospheric conditions.
Tareq Tawfiq, director of the Grand Egyptian Museum, told reporters that the vehicles used to move the items were equipped with devices to measure humidity, heat and vibrations.
The transfer of King Tut's items has become a particularly sensitive issue since 2014, when the beard attached to the ancient Egyptian monarch's priceless golden mask was accidentally knocked off and hastily reattached with an epoxy glue compound, causing damage and sparking uproar among archaeologists.
The restored mask, which is yet to be moved to the new museum, will be put on display among 5,000 other items belonging to the boy king, whose nearly intact tomb was discovered in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter in the southern city of Luxor.
For many, King Tut embodies ancient Egypt's glory, because his tomb was packed with the glittering wealth of the rich 18th Dynasty, from 1569 to 1315 B.C. He became pharaoh at the age of 10 in 1333 B.C., but ruled for just nine years at a pivotal time in Egypt's history.
A vast area of around 7,000 square meters has been allocated for the display of King Tut's belongings, which include two other funerary beds and four chariots.
The new museum, which covers 480,000 square meters, will house about 100,000 artifacts spanning the pre-dynastic era up until the Greco-Roman period. Among the antiquities that will be featured in the museum is a recently discovered colossus, believed to belong to Psamtek I, a little-known pharaoh from the 26th dynasty who ruled Egypt between 664 and 610 B.C.
The Antiquities Ministry has made a string of discoveries since the beginning of 2017 in several provinces across Egypt — the most recent of which was a human necropolis holding at least 17 mummies near the Nile Valley city of Minya.
Egypt hopes that the new discoveries coupled with the inauguration of the new museum will help spur a vital tourism industry that has been reeling from the political turmoil that engulfed Egypt following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.