News FocusRevolutionizing Egypt's Science

Modernizing Mummy Maintenance

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Science  15 Jul 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6040, pp. 282-283
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6040.282

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Summary

The Giza pyramids were built 4500 years ago to guarantee eternal life for Old Kingdom pharaohs. A short distance away, more than 140 technicians, scientists, and conservators are busy ensuring that the countless beautiful objects produced by 3 millennia of crafters will also survive the ages. Physically, Egypt's newest monument has a lower profile—it's nestled 10 meters underground. But the massive new conservation center of the Grand Egyptian Museum stands out as one of the largest and most modern conservation facilities in the world, foreign archaeologists say. That's in stark contrast to Egyptian facilities in some other disciplines, in which researchers struggle with antiquated equipment (see main text).