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There are only two years left to celebrate the centenary of their discovery. An ephemeris to which the tomb of Tutankhamun arrives with the ailments of those who, after a long rest, have lived rapidly since Howard Carter entered his 109 m2 hole. The burial of the child pharaoh has been closed for weeks, in an impasse caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The land of the pharaohs has chosen to close access to its monuments and take advantage of the forced quarantine to fumigate and clean its premises, which in recent months had been reconciled with the crowds that disappeared with the 2011 revolution and the political turmoil that it happened. Even the replica placed a few steps from the road that leads to the Valley of the Kings, next to the house that Carter lived in, which reconstructs the landmarks of the most mediatic discovery of Egyptology, does not remain open.
The facsimile, with the accuracy of a micron, was produced a decade ago in Factum Arte's Madrid workshop and - after a fleeting exhibition in Cairo, under the auspices of the European Union - it was transferred and installed in 2014 in the vicinity of the home in which the British archaeologist resided, in southern Luxor, 600 kilometers from the Egyptian capital. Now, in times of confinement and nostalgia for travel, an application prepared by the Factum Foundation offers a virtual tour of the walls of the narrow grave.
MORE DETAILS THAN NATURAL
The invitation to visit the walls of the KV62 from the screen - where the wounded skeleton of Tutankhamun (1332-1323 BC), who died shortly after reaching the age of majority - still rests guarantees a luxury of details that is not perceptible in a Physical visit to the páramo, whose environment -including ventilation and lighting systems- underwent a deep rehabilitation signed by the Getty Conservation Institute that concluded last year.
The browser developed by Factum allows the user to play with the different layers of the walls, from the relief data captured by a 3D scanner and photogrammetry to the color data, registered by panoramic photography and photogrammetry. A torrent of information at a very high resolution, now accessible from any computer or mobile device. On the web, the visitor can choose the 3D layer or the color or combine both.
At the click of a button, the user can delight in the paintings that decorate the burial chamber , the only one of the rooms that houses murals. Among them, the one in the west that welcomes the 12 monkeys, symbol of the 12 night hours that the monarch had to pass before being reborn. Or, in the north, the scenes of the Opening of the Mouth , a ceremony in which the statue or mummy of the deceased was animated by opening the mouth and eyes so that the deceased could eat and drink in the afterlife, or Tutankhamun with the goddess Nut. The east wall, on the other hand, projects a passage from the Book of the Dead, while the south offers representations of the monarch with the gods Anubis, Isis or Hathor.
AJUAR WITH MORE THAN 5,000 JEWELS
The precision with which the walls were scanned offers the possibility to enlarge the images and dive into their small details. Like, for example, the brown spots that are scattered throughout all the paintings and that for decades have fueled the curiosity of the experts. The last examination that was carried out found that freckles contained high concentrations of malic acid , one of the most abundant acids in nature and easily metabolized by microorganisms. DNA analysis of the swabs confirmed the presence of Bacillus and Kocuria bacteria and ensured that they were not growing.
To admire the richness of the grave, the journey through the walls of Tutankhamun's burial chamber should be completed with a leaf through the trousseau of more than 5,000 objects that were once piled up in the four rooms of the grave and that -after a restoration- They will be exhibited in their entirety in the Great Egyptian Museum that the Arab country builds a stone's throw from the Giza pyramids and that it hopes to inaugurate later this year, if the Covid-19 health crisis does not change the calendar.
The jewelry inventory of the Tutankhamun collection, from the photographs taken by Harry Burton, is available on the website of The Griffith Institute, under the University of Oxford. The institution has digitized the complete archive bequeathed by the archaeologist's niece, Phyllis Walker, after the explorer's death. The resource is an open window to browse the complete records of a decade of excavation, Carter's diaries and all the documentation that generated his discovery, a milestone that revolutionized Egyptology and unleashed the fury for Egypt.
In this unusual spring between walls, the Internet user will be able to approach the fascination that Carter experienced when in November 1922, about to throw in the towel, he found the access to the tomb and broke down the bricked door. "At first I couldn't see a thing. The hot air escaped from the chamber waving the candle flame ... but when my eyes got used to the light, the details of the room slowly emerged from the mist: strange animals, statues and Gold ... ", he wrote. Lord Carnarvon, the patron of the adventure, then asked Carter:" Can you see something? "And the archaeologist replied:" Yes, wonderful things . "
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