• Short Summary

    During the first two months of 1972, 50 of the finest treasures from the tomb of King Tutankhamen will be flown to London for a six-month exhibition at the British Museum, opening on 29 March.

  • Description

    During the first two months of 1972, 50 of the finest treasures from the tomb of King Tutankhamen will be flown to London for a six-month exhibition at the British Museum, opening on 29 March.

    Because of their astronomical value, the treasures of the ancient Egyptian boy-king will not be insured -- instead they will be covered by a British Government indemnity running to "many millions of pounds". The flights themselves, by BOAC and the Royal Air Force, will be cloaked in secrecy.

    The Egyptian Government is lending the treasures to mark the discovery of tutankhamen's tomb by two Englishmen at Luxor 50 years ago in November 1922. Restoration experts have been working for months at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo to prepare the treasures for the journey.

    This film shot by Visnews cameraman Ken Ludlow, shows some of their work.

    SYNOPSIS: At the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, restoration experts have been preparing 50 of the most valuable treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamen for exhibiting in London. It's the first time the Egyptian Government has allowed so many of the priceless pieces to travel abroad.

    The boy king Tutankhamen reigned in Egypt more than 30 centuries ago. He was nine when he came to the throne, and eighteen when he died. His mourners buried him in the Valley of Kings at Luxor, and sealed off the tomb, intending that no human eye should ever see the gold, jewels and works of art they packed into the tiny chambers. There the treasures remained until they were discovered in 1922 by two English archaeologists, who'd spent six years searching the Valley of Kings. It was probably the most exciting archaeological find ever made.

    The tomb contained over two thousand objects -- among them this little wooden shrine covered in sheets of gold. Goldsmiths had decorated its surface with vivid scenes from the domestic life of the boy-king and his queen. Special work has been needed to prepare the shrine for exhibition in London -- it's the first time the Egyptian authorities have allowed it to leave the Museum.

    The dead king was mummified according to custom, and this solid gold mask was placed over his bandaged face. Experts believe it's an exact likeness.

    Vulture and cobra heads surmount the king's forehead. Their spirits were thought to protect King Tutankhamen and his dynasty. If they did, it was not for long. His reign covered barely nine years in the vast span of ancient Egyptian history, and after his death, his successors tried to erase all record of his memory. But the discovery of this tomb has given him an immortality his mourners never dreamed of.

    It is to mark the 50th anniversary of this discovery by two very persistent Englishmen that the Egyptian Government is allowing so many of the treasures to travel to London. The British Museum is confidently expecting a million and a half visitors to see the exhibition. The proceeds will go towards saving the ancient temples threatened by the rising waters of Egypt's Aswan dam. The treasures will be flown to London in conditions of some secrecy in the next two months. They can't be insured, but the British Government is covering them with an indemnity said to run to many millions of pounds.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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