King Tut and Egyptian Mummies
Do mummies sweat?
Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni has said the tomb of Haremhab, in the Valley of the King’s on Luxor’s West Bank, has been reopened following the installation of the state-of-the-art equipment controlling the rate of humidity within the burial ground.
According to Minister Hosni, the tomb has received for the first time technology of this kind, installed in an attempt to reduce and control the rate of humidity and heat. Humidity has affected the tomb’s wall paintings in the past leading to its initial shutdown.
Dr. Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), said that a German firm specialized in the technology, provided the equipment, following several years of scientific studies, in order to provide a suitable atmosphere in the tomb. A scientific team is now monitoring the efficiency of the equipment; if it operates successfully the equipment will be installed in all tombs in the Valley of the Kings.
According to history, Haremheb ascended to the throne after King Tutankhanum and Iye reigned for approximately 28 years.
Controlling humidity has always been a problem in many tombs. As with King Tut's remains, Hawass said, “The high rate of humidity and heat accumulating in the burial chamber threaten the remains and may lead to the mummy's and other remains' complete deterioration, turning it into dust.”
Therefore, he added, “ Encasing the mummy (as in King Tut's) in a modern and state-of-the-art showcase, like those found in the mummies’ rooms in the Egyptian museum, will protect it for thousands more years.”
Hawass said the mummy will be covered with a linen wrap except for the face which will be displayed for public view. “Guests of the Valley can now see for the first time the real face of king Tutankhamun,” said the SCA chief.
Some scholars, however, believe that the mummy in glass should be transferred to the mummification museum in Luxor or the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. But the SCA experts are convinced that Tut belongs to the tomb and should only be exhibited in his natural environment.