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World

Whodunnit? King Tut's Burial Mask Damaged And Glue Didn't Help

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Tut, tut, indeed. A debacle is unfolding at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo where someone broke off the beard of King Tut's burial mask and then attempted to glue it back on. The 3,300 year old mask is one of the most famous archaeological relics in history. Now experts say it is irreversibly damaged. To add to the drama, it's not clear who is responsible. The AP reports three of the Museum's curators give conflicting accounts of what happened and when. But they all say they were ordered to immediately fix it to get it back on display. Someone apparently had the novel notion to use epoxy to stick the beard back on. It's a strong, fast-drying glue usually used to repair metal or wood. But experts say it is not suited for something like King Tut's mask. When the conservators realized their mistake, one reportedly grabbed a spatula and tried to scrape the glue off. Instead he left a permanent scratches. The curse of Tutankhamun continues. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.