Striding to another step on the path of collecting all of Tutankhamun’s belongings at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) before its opening planned to take place this year, the Ministry of Antiquities, with the help of armed forces, transferred on Saturday the sixth and last of Tutankhamen’s chariots from the Military Museum at the Citadel to its final display location at the GEM.
The chariot is one of the six chariots that were discovered buried at Tutankhamun’s cemetery in Luxor. The other five were previously transferred to the GEM, gathering the whole collection in the area dedicated to the boy king in the new museum.
For his part, the Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Anany welcomed the arrival of the chariot to the GEM by inaugurating a conference titled Tutankhamun: Weapons and Statues, which is the fourth International Tutankhamun GEM Conference. El-Anany said in his speech that the GEM received 43,257 different relics, including more than 4,000 artefacts belonging to Tutankhamun.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in his speech that such an event is considered a celebration for collecting Tutankhamun’s chariots in one place after years of separation.
Cairo’s streets, from the Citadel all the way to Giza, were protected and prepared for the hour and a half journey as the three vans carrying the chariot passed through.
“We provided the boxes containing the chariot pieces with temperature and humidity indicators. The pieces were well contained and supported by fibres that would not allow them to move inside the boxes, and they were placed above a slip-resistant base,” he said.
He explained in his speech that the packing process took six days and the pieces were packed by the GEM’s central restoration department.
The event was attended by several armed forces figures, as well as officials from the Ministries of Defence and Antiquities. The chariot underwent another sterilisation process at the GEM to recover from the journey.
“Tutankhamun’s cemetery was discovered in 1922, and it is almost the only one of which the discovered belongings were not stolen or interfered with,” Waziri added in his speech.
The cemetery contained 5,398 artefacts buried with the king; most of them were displayed in the GEM before the decision of collecting all of his belongings at one place.
“So far, we have transferred around 4,800 relics of the late king’s properties; 122 were from the Luxor Museum and the rest were showcased at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and we are planning to complete the collection at the GEM by the end of the year,” he added.
The young pharaoh started his reign at the age of nine and died ten years later at the age of 19.
The ceremony started with a folkloric band, wearing pharaoh costumes and performing several national songs.
The chariot was originally transferred to the Military Museum at the Citadel from the Egyptian Museum, where it underwent an intensive restoration process that lasted for nine years.
It was made from elm, which is a rare type of wood that has interlocking grain, which makes it stronger and able to withstand heavy weights as well as its capability of bending to take the different circular shapes.
“What we have discovered from the pharaohs’ relics is less than 40% of what the ground still holds for us to discover,” Waziri added.