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  • NARRATOR: Tutankhamun's spectacular treasures.

  • Now, for the first time since they were discovered,

  • all 5,398 objects are being brought together

  • in a new $1 billion museum.

  • This will be the first time many of them have been seen for a century.

  • SALIMA: Look at the horse, look at the horse, look at the horse!

  • NARRATOR: Scientists have been using the latest imaging and forensic technology

  • to unlock long buried mysteries to reveal the man behind the mask.

  • CHRIS: So many tiny details are visible again.

  • NARRATOR: And one treasure has caused more speculation over the years than any other.

  • Tutankhamun's death mask.

  • NAUNTON: Some scholars have begun to suggest that this may not belong to him at all.

  • NARRATOR: Now, who the mask was actually made for may no longer be a mystery.

  • ♪ ♪

  • The Valley of the Kings.

  • The sacred burial ground of ancient Egypt's pharaohs.

  • For centuries, archaeologists have explored these tombs.

  • But each one they entered was stripped bare by grave robbers in search of gold.

  • Every tomb, except one.

  • On November 26th, 1922, archaeologist Howard Carter broke into that long-forgotten

  • tomb to make the greatest archeological discovery of all time.

  • He found the breathtaking treasures of Tutankhamun.

  • Ever since, the world has marveled at the royal splendor of this young king's tomb.

  • And the most famous treasure of all is the death mask.

  • -Tutankhamun's mask is an icon.

  • And I think part of it is because it is made of solid gold and a lot of people get

  • wowed by that, as well as by the beauty of the craftsmanship

  • and also by the elegance and the expression of the face.

  • NARRATOR: Crafted from 22 pounds of gold,

  • this priceless object is known throughout the world.

  • But speculation has always swirled around this 3,000-year old treasure with

  • some experts claiming the mask may never have been made for Tutankhamun.

  • Now, the opening of a major new museum offers Egyptologists a unique

  • opportunity to assess everything from the tomb as never before.

  • And the world-famous death mask has undergone the most

  • intensive forensic examination ever.

  • It will answer once and for all if this is the mask of Tutankhamun.

  • The Cairo Museum has been the home of the death mask ever since it was

  • discovered a century ago.

  • And to see how the mask was documented when it was first discovered,

  • Egyptologist Chris Naunton is stepping back in time.

  • -Wow.

  • NARRATOR: Hidden in the bowels of the museum is a 100-year-old book,

  • that details every single object found in Tutankhamun's tomb.

  • It's Howard Carter's original excavation log.

  • -Huh. Wow. This is it.

  • This is the beginning of the record.

  • -Yeah. -And so this is the first thing he recorded.

  • Shrine outermost. 6064.

  • -Yeah. -Can I, can I turn the page?

  • NARRATOR: These pages, barely turned for a century, reveal that over

  • 5,000 objects were taken from the tomb, but only a third have ever been seen in public.

  • -That's the death mask. What does he say?

  • 'Mask of mummy, beard and necklace.'

  • -Yes. -Wow, there it is.

  • The most famous archaeological object from the ancient world; mask of mummy 60672.

  • NARRATOR: And now, decades after its discovery, the mask is about to start

  • a new chapter in life.

  • In a high security operation, the entire contents of Tutankhamun's tomb are

  • heading to a brand-new home.

  • 15 years in the making and at a cost of $1 billion,

  • the massive Grand Egyptian Museum is rising up in the desert outside Cairo.

  • The huge array of items arriving, show how much this young pharaoh took to the

  • grave when he died at the age of 19.

  • -Ideally, once you die, you go and live forever, and therefore you need

  • everything that you needed in this life.

  • And if you're a king you had a lot of stuff. Fantastic.

  • This is a scepter, which maybe he would have held or maybe someone else

  • would have walked before him with.

  • NARRATOR: There's everything from mummified food for the afterlife.

  • -Ooh nice.

  • NARRATOR: To the childhood belongings of the boy who became the head of a

  • powerful empire when he was only nine.

  • -This is some sort of a seat with a foot stool.

  • Little bottom of, little bottom of Tut. Aw.

  • He needed all of the stuff he used in daily life, but he also needed a lot of

  • religious, magical things that would help him go from this world to the next.

  • So this is why his tomb is just exploding with objects.

  • NARRATOR: The most important of those magical objects was the death mask.

  • This golden portrait, a clear likeness of Tutankhamun, was vital.

  • It was how he would be recognized in the afterlife.

  • As the thousands of burial goods, from the sacred to the mundane,

  • are gathered together in the new museum, there's a chance for new information

  • about all these objects to be uncovered.

  • -Layers and layers and layers of information are coming out.

  • Not just because objects are being examined in detail,

  • but also because new technologies can be applied to them.

  • NARRATOR: Scientific advances beyond the wildest dreams of Howard Carter,

  • are allowing the contents of the tomb to be forensically examined,

  • some for the first time.

  • And what's become clearer, is that Tutankhamun's massive royal burial

  • did not go according to plan.

  • -Perhaps things were not done exactly as they should have been.

  • Perhaps they were done in a hurry.

  • NARRATOR: The origin of some of the most magnificent objects

  • in the tomb is in doubt.

  • And some have now even suggested that the most famous of all the

  • pharaoh's treasures, his death mask,

  • may not have originally belonged to him.

  • -Was the mask created for Tutankhamun or for someone else?

  • NARRATOR: Could it be true,

  • that this iconic death mask was never intended for Tutankhamun?

  • It's inlaid with thousands of fragments of colored glass and semi-precious stones.

  • Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan fills the eyebrows...

  • Red carnelian from India sets off the garland...

  • And the eyes are formed from Turkish obsidian.

  • According to ancient Egyptian burial law,

  • this whole mask had to be ready in a startlingly short amount of time.

  • Little more than two months was allowed from the moment of death until

  • a body was sealed in its tomb.

  • And that has raised doubts about the mask.

  • -The priesthood and the craftsmen who were involved in preparing the burial equipment

  • would only have had 70 days, and that's the length of time it takes to prepare

  • the body for burial, in which to create material like this death mask.

  • And some people would say that 70 days is not long enough to create

  • an object as fine as this.

  • In which case, the only way it could have ended up among the burial equipment

  • of Tutankhamun was if it was already available.

  • Perhaps having been made for somebody else.

  • NARRATOR: Over recent years speculation has mounted that the death mask originally

  • belonged to Tutankhamun's stepmother, Nefertiti.

  • People have wondered if craftsmen, short of time, could have rescued her mask

  • and replaced her face with that of Tutankhamun.

  • At the new Grand Egyptian Museum the sheer number of objects

  • arriving in its store rooms seems to add weight to this theory.

  • It was a huge task for the ancient Egyptians to prepare a king's tomb.

  • -It's just incredible to think that these things are so old, they're so fragile.

  • But I mean the detail on this is absolutely exquisite.

  • If you look at the open work in this model shrine, with the detail of a bull.

  • It's intimidating to be this close to it almost.

  • NARRATOR: The volumes are staggering.

  • Hundreds of arrows, beds, sticks, even shoes.

  • -Ahh, beautiful, yeah. -Smalls, smallest ones we have.

  • -So these must have been sandals made for Tutankhamun when he was a young child.

  • -Mmm. Yes, yes. -How many sandals do we have all together?

  • How many pairs do you know?

  • -All we received until now about 30 pairs, yes...

  • -30 pairs already here. And there's still more coming.

  • That's amazing.

  • Many of these objects have never come out of storage,

  • they've never seen the light of day.

  • And it's only now therefore, that we can really get a sense of the full extent um,

  • of the treasures that Tutankhamun was buried with.

  • And it's really incredible to think I mean, every single one these items is

  • an exquisite work of art in its own right.

  • NARRATOR: And all of these thousands of objects had to be either found

  • or created from scratch in just two months before being transported to the tomb.

  • NARRATOR: Tutankhamun's burial site lies 400 miles south of Cairo's Grand Egyptian Museum,

  • in the Valley of the Kings.

  • Chris Naunton has come to these desert hills to see where all the treasures from

  • Tutankhamun's tomb were first gathered over 3,000 years ago.

  • They lay here until the archaeologist Howard Carter first discovered the long,

  • hidden entrance to the young pharaoh's tomb.

  • NAUNTON: Even though I must have been here dozens of times now,

  • it's still a thrill to come down that descending passageway every time.

  • And it's difficult not to try to imagine what it must have been like for Howard Carter

  • coming into this tomb, finding it absolutely chock-full of this incredible assemblage

  • of material of the finest quality, more or less exactly as it had been left

  • 3,000 years ago.

  • NARRATOR: The tomb was so full it took Carter and his team ten years to remove

  • the mass of treasures and haul them across the desert back to Cairo.

  • But as the excavation progressed,

  • Carter was hampered by the size of the site.

  • The burial chamber was so cramped, the team could barely fit around the gilded shrines.

  • It was soon clear this was an unusual tomb for such a powerful ruler

  • of ancient Egypt.

  • NAUNTON: Difficult to escape the feeling that all is not quite right here,

  • it's just not very big, and it's just not very complicated,

  • and the design is really quite simple.

  • There's not very much wall space at all and what there is, is only half-decorated.

  • It feels more here as though a space has been hastily adapted to receive

  • the burial of a pharaoh.

  • NARRATOR: The fact that Tutankhamun's tomb is so small and badly prepared

  • has long puzzled Egyptologists.

  • And at the Grand Egyptian Museum there's evidence that Tutankhamun's burial

  • fell short in other ways.

  • The latest shipment of objects from the tomb has arrived.

  • It's a batch of shabtis.

  • Models of servants intended to serve the pharaoh after death.

  • There were more than 400 of these small figures,

  • many of which have never been displayed before.

  • Each one should look like Tutankhamun, bearing the same face as his death mask.

  • -Is funny with the googly eyes.

  • NARRATOR: But they've raised questions for Egyptologist Salima Ikram.

  • SALIMA: Idea is that they should all look like Tutankhamun,

  • but you can clearly see a lot of variety here.

  • So although the paint job's similar, the faces are very different coz that one's got a

  • pointy nose, that one's got a differently shaped mouth.

  • Some faces are more delicately formed and slightly more feminine even than his,

  • others are a bit more robust, so there is a question as to whether some

  • of them might have been made for someone else.

  • NARRATOR: It seems the leader of an ancient empire may have been buried with

  • objects never intended for him.

  • -You do see re-use in tomb material fairly frequently, especially in the non-royal

  • corpus, but it seems a bit odd to do this in a royal burial.

  • NARRATOR: The conservators at the Grand Egyptian Museum are now trying to establish how

  • much of Tutankhamun's burial treasure originally belonged to someone else.

  • Existing estimates are staggering.

  • Over 1,000 items, a quarter of the contents of the tomb, are second hand.

  • -At this point it's very difficult to be precise about how many items might have been

  • made for someone else and re-used because it's only now that we are looking even more

  • closely at these artifacts, and so we are slowly coming in to the process of saying

  • 'well this might belong to someone else, and this clearly belongs to someone else,'

  • so we really have to look at each object individually and very carefully.

  • NARRATOR: It seems the tomb workers, pressed for time, reused items to boost

  • Tutankhamun's store of treasures for the afterlife.

  • That backs up evidence already gathered, of what seems like a botched burial.

  • NARRATOR: Away from Cairo at the Griffith Institute in Oxford,

  • England there are more clues that shortcuts were taken in putting

  • together Tutankhamun's tomb.

  • Chris Naunton has come to study the original notes Howard Carter made as he first

  • assessed the king's burial chamber.

  • NAUNTON: This absolutely incredible drawing, which was made by Carter himself is a

  • kind of a plan view of the assemblage of shrines, sarcophagus and coffins that

  • were found in the burial chamber in the tomb.

  • NARRATOR: Carter carefully noted how Tutankhamun's body bearing his death mask,

  • was interred in three coffins placed one inside the other like Russian dolls.

  • The coffins were then encased in a stone sarcophagus inside a set of gilded shrines.

  • In theory, they should have fitted perfectly inside one another.

  • But Carter found otherwise.

  • -When he had removed the coffins from inside the sarcophagus he began to notice

  • that something wasn't quite right and as he says here,

  • 'the top edge of the feet of the lid had been chipped away in places.

  • They had been too high to allow the lid of the sarcophagus to

  • be placed on the sarcophagus.'

  • it seems the coffin was too big for the sarcophagus and

  • it wasn't possible to place the lid down.

  • Carter was beginning to record these anomalies and to recognize that there was

  • something a little bit strange about the way this had been put together.

  • NARRATOR: Tutankhamun, the head of a powerful empire, was given an under-sized

  • sarcophagus that couldn't hold his outer coffin.

  • And the middle coffin raises more questions.

  • Discrepancies on the coffin's name plate, or cartouche,

  • have intrigued Egyptologist Aiden Dodson.

  • He suggests Tutankhamun wasn't just surrounded by secondhand possessions,

  • he was even buried in someone else's coffin.

  • -First of all, the middle coffin is heavily inlaid in glass,

  • completely unlike the other two, which are basically a pure gold appearance.

  • Second, there's some of the inscriptions have the cartouche of the king,

  • which is sunk a little bit too deep into the surface than one would have expected.

  • It looks like the original cartouche has been cut out and a new one inserted.