CAIRO – Egypt moved the sixth and last chariot of famed pharaoh Tutankhamun on Saturday to the boy king’s vast collection of items in an under-construction museum near the pyramids in Giza.
The unique artifact, a major feature of the military museum for over 30 years, paraded through Cairo with a military police escort to its final resting place at the Grand Egyptian Museum, home to thousands of artifacts spanning different dynasties of ancient Egypt. King Tut’s items, including the six chariots, are to be put on display in halls covering 7,000 square meters of the museum.
The Antiquities Ministry has been gradually moving King Tut’s belongings to the new museum to undergo restoration before they are put on display. The transfer of King Tut’s belongings has become a particularly sensitive issue; In 2014 the beard attached to the ancient Egyptian monarch’s priceless golden mask was accidentally knocked off and hastily reattached with an epoxy glue compound, sparking uproar among archaeologists.
Saturday’s relocation of King Tut’s sixth chariot was preceded by the fourth International Tutankhamun Conference which was attended by a wide range of Egyptologists and archaeologists from the world over.
During the conference, Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said that the first phase of the museum, including King Tut’s halls, will be completed by the end of this year but the date for the museum’s soft opening has yet to be decided. The museum currently hosts more than 43,200 artifacts of which over 4,500 belong to King Tut alone. The museum’s grand opening is planned for 2022.
Archaeologist Zahi Hawass told reporters that excavation work on the tomb of King Tut’s wife, Ankhesenamun, is currently underway and he expects it to bear fruit soon.
“Maybe soon a tomb will be revealed in the Valley of the Monkeys or the western Valley of the Kings,” he said.
The nearly intact tomb of King Tut, who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago, was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings, located on the west bank of the Nile river in Luxor. For many, King Tut embodies ancient Egypt’s glory, because his tomb was packed with the glittering wealth of the rich 18th Dynasty, from 1569 to 1315 B.C. He became pharaoh at the age of 10 in 1333 B.C., but ruled for just nine years at a pivotal time in ancient Egypt’s history.