Epoxy glue that was used to attach the blue and gold braided beard on the gold burial mask of King Tutankhamen can be removed and the mask can be restored, says Christian Eckmann, a German restoration specialist, according to USA Today.
At a packed news conference in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Eckmann assured reporters that it is possible to restore the 3,300 year-old mask that was damaged in a failed attempt to attach the beard that was accidently broken off in August.
Eckmann tells reporters that the beard snapped off when the lighting in the case that houses the famed Pharaonic mask was adjusted.
The Minister of Antiquities was not notified of the accidental break, and it has been reported that the persons responsible for the damage went on to attempt to restore the mask, according to Al Araby Al Jadeed, a London-based Arabic news site.
This included an abundance of epoxy, which has a highly adhesive property with materials such as stone and metal. Generally, epoxy adhesive is not recommended for antique pieces because of its irreversible nature.
The epoxy was applied heavily, and about a centimetre of the dried glue, particularly on the left side of the mask, where the beard connects to the chin, is visible.
A museum conservator told the Associated Press that small scratches on the left side of the cheek were sustained after the glue from the botched chin job was scraped off with a spatula.
King Tut’s tomb was uncovered in 1922 and the mask was found in the burial chamber. Eckmann says that the mask’s beard was loose when archaeologists discovered it, and was re-affixed in 1941.
The mask of King Tut is the museum’s biggest draw and one the most cherished and priceless pieces in archaeology.