For many visitors to Egypt, it is the definitive experience; to witness first hand Tutankhamen tomb in Luxor’s famous Valley of the Kings.
However, irreparable damage caused by decades of tourists flocking to see the boy king’s burial chamber and other ancient tombs could mean visitors are soon banned from entering them.The breath alone from people descending to see the chambers, say experts, is causing the intricately painted plaster to crumble away from the walls.
Future visitors to the tomb will have to be content with paying to see a carefully-crafted replica although Egyptian authorities have yet to make a decision on when that might be. The Supreme Council of Antiquities has already commissioned a series of near-perfect fake chambers in conjunction with Switzerland’s University of Basel and Madrid-based company Factum Arte
One of them, Briton Adam Lowe, told The Independent on Sunday newspaper: ‘It is disastrous what is happening in Luxor. The truth is that the tomb was never meant to be visited. It lasted well for over 3000 years. But in the last 90 since Carter’s discovery, its condition has deteriorated dramatically.’On November 4th 1922, after years of toiling away in the Valley of the Kings, British archaeologist Howard Carter sensationally discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb and revealed one of the most significant Egyptian excavations of all time. The fascination with Carter’s story and the perpetual promise of more discoveries has continued to see tourists pouring into the sun-drenched site near Luxor.
Factum Arte used high-tech 3D scanners to create the replica of King Tut’s tomb in a process that has taken several years to complete. After being stored in Madrid, the facsimile will be unveiled in Cairo next week.Proposals for a site for the fake tomb include near to Carter House at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings. The chamber would then form part of a bigger exhibition and be expected to attract around 500,000 visitors annually. The Egyptian Tourism Federation said that preservation was behind the move. Chairman El Hamy el-Zayat explained: ‘We want to keep the tomb for the next generation and the generation after,’ said of the Egyptian Tourism Federation. ‘It’s been here for over 3000 years and we want to make sure it stays with us.’