Egyptian-German joint effort to restore objects from Tutankhamun’s chariots

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There were over 3,000 separate objects, including six chariots, removed from the tomb of Tutankhamun, when it was discovered by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon in 1922.  But even now 92 years later some of these stunning treasures are still unknown to us.

Decorated gold leaf-on-leather objects forms one such group which is currently undergoing restoration by an Egyptian-German team at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The pieces, which have never been adequately examined, were part of Tutankhamun’s war chariots, the trappings of the horses and the sheaths of weapons. Although they are not in good condition at the moment it is clear that they possess a rare beauty.

chariots discovered in the antechamber of the tomb

The designs incorporate a combination of Egyptian and Levantine motifs, which illustrates the political and cultural connections between Egypt and the states of the Levant in the 14th century BC.

A team of restoration specialists and archaeologists from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz (the leading German Institution for scientific restoration), the Institute of Near Eastern Archaeology of the University of Tübingen (which excavated and studied similar objects at the site of ancient Qatna in Syria) and the German Archaeological Institute Cairo, have now embarked on a project to do an extensive archaeological and technological analysis of the artefacts.

The restoration lab at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

Thanks to funding provided by the Federal Republic of Germany, at a cost of LE1 million, a specialised restoration laboratory has been set up at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. To support professional development, scholarships are being offered to Egyptian restorers to receive specialised training at the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz, Germany.

The project will be conducted over three years, after which there will be a public exhibition of the objects in the Egyptian Museum.

Source: German Archaeological Institute

Photographs: Christian Eckman