‘Don’t disturb him!’ Fears over Tutankhamun’s ‘cursed’ body move as new display complete

Tutankhamun: 'Curse' of Pharaoh's tomb discussed by historian

Known affectionately around-the-world as King Tut, the 18th Dynasty pharaoh is arguably the most famous royal of all ancient Egypt, and the discovery of his tomb – KV62 – by Howard Carter stunned the globe. But, within months of opening the Boy King’s sarcophagus, six archaeologists died, as well as Lord Carnarvon – the sponsor of the expedition – in what came to be known as the Curse of the Pharaohs. While the treasures of his tomb have travelled the world, King Tut has stayed put, but soon he is expected to be moved to the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Construction work for the museum is said to be “97 percent complete,” with the Egyptian government confirming that it will open this year, despite the pandemic.

When it opens, it will contain more than 50,000 artefacts including the full collection of King Tut presented in one place for the first time in history to the public.

The display case for his galleries are “100 percent completed” and are currently undergoing testing.

But some are not so excited about the news.

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Local Egyptologist Ahmed Rabie Mohamed said: “If Tutankhamun leaves Luxor everybody in Luxor will be so sad because Tutankhamun has always been here.

“Since they discovered the tomb in 1922, he never ever left his tomb.

“Even when the mummy is examined that is done here in the Valley of the Kings.

“They bring the X-ray machines to the Valley of the Kings so he never ever left.

“People talk on social media about the mummy leaving to the Grand Museum.”

Mr Mohamed, who is also a tour guide in Luxor, expressed his fears that the move could lead to a drop in tourism.

He added: “I think for the opening of the museum they want the masterpiece to make it attractive but Egypt is very rich in history, there are so many masterpieces.

“Already Tutankhamun’s chariots have been taken from Luxor Museum to the Grand Museum and 36 coffins we found in Luxor about two months ago have been taken to the new museum.

“Also, some beautiful pieces from Luxor Museum have been taken. 

“If Tutankhamun leaves Luxor everyone will be sad because he’s our only royal mummy that you can see in the Valley of the Kings.

“It costs 300 Egyptian Pounds to go inside Tutankhamun’s tomb. 

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“If they take the mummy out no one will want to go in as they can go to the new museum.”

Mr Mohamed may an outright call not to disturb the ancient king.

He continued: “You’ll see nothing inside because everything has been moved to the museum in Cairo. There is nothing left except for the mummy.

“The tomb will lose its value and be like the other tombs in the Valley of Kings.

“From the point of view of an Egyptologist, he should stay here, don’t disturb him. 

“I think they should move more of it back here. Bring more to Luxor, don’t take from Luxor.”

But Dr Eltayeb Abbas, the director of archaeological affairs at the Grand Egyptian Museum, disagreed.

He said that Tutankhamun himself would want to be moved to Cairo.

Speaking in 2020, he added: “We are going to bring the mummy from the Valley of the Kings.

“All the collections of the king are here in the Grand Egyptian Museum.

“They’re all under one roof, I think Tutankhamun himself would be happy to have his mummy here.

“People are even arguing about the coffins but we had to take the outermost coffin here because it was in a bad state of preservation.

“We have been working on it for eight months.”

When asked about the curse of the Pharaohs, Dr Abbas said: “I know there are cursed texts and the Egyptians really believed in the power of the word.

“So they were thinking that by reciting a text that would let things become real.

“But for us, I wouldn’t say so. I am a villager coming from the west bank [of Luxor] and my family and all the people are believing in the existence of a curse.

“So I don’t have to believe but I have to respect the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians and the existence of a curse.”

Today, scientists believe the so-called curse is actually due to decomposed organic material that can enter open wounds and spread infection.

Archaeologists now wear protective masks when entering such resting places.

However, not all deaths can be accredited to this, in addition to the bizarre experiences some researchers still have following the openings.

Some have detailed very vivid dreams, claiming to be “haunted” by the mummies they apparently disturbed.

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