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Replica of Tutankhamun's tomb in Madrid park
ThinkSpain , Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Madrid's Casa de Campo is to play host to a life-size replica of Tutankhamun's tomb, in a new concept of exhibitions that plans to show not just famous artefacts, but also the setting in which they were found.

According to the exhibition's organiser, Christoph Stolz, Egypt has captured the public's interest ever since 1964 when the Pharaoh's treasures started to be shown in museums around the world.  What this new exhibition hopes to do is show the artefacts not in glass showcases, but to give the visitor "an idea of how archaeologist Howard Carter would have found the tomb".

The first thing visitors see when they enter the "tomb" is an enormous gold box the size of a small room, which is in fact the pharaoh's outer sarcophagus, followed by another, then another, all in life size, which contain the mummy.

Some of the most eye-catching exhibits are the gold sarcophagus (the original of which is on show in the British Museum) and the gold funeral mask (that has become a popular symbol for Ancient Egypt), the pharaoh's throne and the chariot he used to travel around in, made entirely of gold (which are in the Cairo Museum along with some 6,000 other treasures from Ancient Egypt).

There are a few surprises too, like the x-ray that shows a piece of wood lodged in the pharaoh's skull, documental proof that he had malaria, or that Nefertiti was not his mother, but rather his stepmother and, later, his mother-in-law, all of which is explained in Spanish and English.

"We are hoping to attract all kinds of people who want to find out a bit more about the pharaoh who has become the symbol of Ancient Egypt, even though he only ruled for a few years", said egyptologist Esther Pons, who has worked on creating the exhibition.

"Recreating the context is not only an attractive and educational way of displaying these unique treasures," she went on, "but possibly the future of exhibitions on egyptology".
The exhibition began in 2008 in Zurich and Brno and was then duplicated in 2009 so that it can run simultaneously in different cities.   At the moment it can be seen in Madrid and Hamburg.  According to Scholz, more than 1.4 million people  have already seen the exhibition and the organisers are hoping for a further 37,000 visitors over the five months that it is on show in the Pavellón Doce (Pavilion 12) at Madrid's Casa de Campo park.

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