Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Egyptian expert finds fault with AP officials for mummy deterioration

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 17: Tarek El Awady, director and head of research department, Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt, has found fault with the way the mummy at the State Museum is preserved. He wondered over the lack of scientific photographs of the mummy during the last 80 years it had been in the possession of the Museums

Dr Tarek submitted a draft report to the State government on the ways and means of preserving the 5000-year-old mummy from further deterioration. He has been entrusted with the task of restoring the mummy of an Egyptian royal woman said to be 18 year old.

The mask of the mummy is in fragmentary state of preservation, the left side of the mask is completely damaged and quite large pieces seemed to be missing. The top of the mask covering the head has some damages both in the cartonage itself (holes exist on different places) and in the colors of the scenes depicted. The lower part of the cartonage mask under the head of the mummy is completely smashed and lost its
round shape.

"I suggest taking the mask of the head of the mummy, restored and put it back. This operation definitely will lead at the beginning to more damage of the mask but the work of restoration will safe the mask," Dr Tarek said.

The mummy was a subject of many movements and it was transferred many times for exhibition in different places. Moving was handled by workers and no safety precautions were taken.

"Unfortunately, there is no documentation work available on the mummy since it was given to the State musueum in 1930. Even archival photographs do not exist as far as we know until now.

The absence of this material stops any attempts to trace the history of
deterioration of the mummy. We cannot know for example if this deterioration happened long time ago and now stopped or still going on and also the speed of this deterioration cannot be traced. Therefore, one has deal with the state of preservation of the mummy as it appears now on the mummy," he said.

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