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The mystery of King Tut

August 17, 2008

He didn’t appear in Popstar neither in Big Brother, but Tutankhamun, commonly known as King Tut, is now the “newest” oldest global celebrity.

Tut turned into a god for his people when he stopped being a nine year-old boy to assume the role of the Pharaoh. From then on, he would be known as one of the most influential kings of Egypt’s eighteenth dynasty.

King Tut passed away when he was only nineteen, but the mystery of his death has helped to keep the Pharaoh’s fame intact.

More than 3.000 years later, he is the main character of an exhibition that has brought Egypt’s culture to the 250.000 Egyptians that live around the UK.

Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaos, held at the O2’s exhibition centre in North Greenwich, is organised by the National Geographic Society with the cooperation of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Discovering an identity

For the Chair of The Egyptian Association UK, Mostafa Ragab, the exhibit is an “excellent opportunity” for the second and third generation of young Egyptians born in Britain to learn about their past.

“Most of them haven’t had the chance to see the pyramids and the tombs, because when they go back to Egypt they stay only for a week to visit their families”, explains Mr. Ragab.

The exhibit is also “very positive” for the British population, claims Mostafa Ragab. It allows Britons to understand the Egyptians that live in London and elsewhere in the country through their culture.

Awaited pieces stay at homeIf you hope to see King Tut in the flesh, you will be severely disappointed, as both his mummy and the largest of the sarcophagi that protected it stayed in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.

The same should be said to those eager to gape at Tut’s Golden Mask. The fragile item was kept in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum.

Egypt is no longer willing to let the pieces go after iconic relics were damaged when the contents of King Tut’s tomb were shown in Britain for the first time in 1972.

To make it up to visitors, the exhibit’s organisers selected 130 objects from King Tut’s tomb and those of his closest relatives.

The little sarcophagus that held Tut’s internal organs – the “canopic coffinette”- and his golden diadem manage to turn the heads of the public.

They are displayed in the last gallery, along with footages, photographs and quotes by the team led by British explorer Howard Carter that discovered the tomb in 1922.

Images of the public exposure of King Tut’s mummy in Egypt last November, broadcasted by the BBC, add value to the exhibition, which has already been to four American cities.

High economic expectations

The visit of the Egyptian treasures means money. The organisers expect to reach the 1,3 million milestone when the exhibition closes in August 2008.

To know more

King Tut’s profile (BBC)

The Global Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Association UK

The Valley of the Kings

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