Tutankhamen’s gold mask is back in its display cabinet in the Tutankhamen Gallery in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo. The world-famous mask has been restored with Germany’s help and was officially handed over on 16 December in a ceremony attended by Michael Reiffenstuel, Director for Cultural Relations Policy, Mamdouh Eldamaty, Egyptian Minister of Antiquities and the Egyptian-German scientific commission.
Preserving culture strengthens society
In his brief address, Reiffenstuel underscored the importance of archaeology and preserving culture for cultural relations and education policy. Preserving cultural heritage and thus historical identity strengthens the heart of a society and thus helps prevent conflict. The trust that has developed in the decades of cooperation between the two countries is reflected in the fact that German experts were invited to assist in this restoration project involving one of the most valuable pieces of Egyptian archaeology. As the Director emphasised, this has further consolidated the long-standing cooperation between Germany and Egypt in the field of archaeology and monument conservation.
New research on Tutankhamen
The project was financed using Federal Foreign Office cultural preservation funding and funds provided by the Gerda Henkel Foundation. It involved not just the restoration of the famous mask but also a technical and scientific analysis which yielded new findings on its emergence and the historical backdrop to the regency of King Tutankhamen (around 1330 B.C.). These results are to be presented in 2016.
Michael Reiffenstuel thanked Stephan Seidlmayer, Head of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, and Christian Eckmann from the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz who led the restoration project. He also voiced his gratitude to the Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Eldamaty and Khaled el‑Enany, Head of the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo, for their close cooperation.