Factum Foundation staff in the process of digitally replicating Tutankhamun's tomb.

Factum Arte’s Pedro Miró and Gregoire Dupond working in the tomb, March-May 2009.
Photograph © Factum Foundation

In November last year, to mark the 90th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, a replica of the tomb was unveiled in Cairo. It was always the intention for the replica to be on display in Cairo and then to be re-located to a site adjacent to Howard Carter’s house not far from the entrance to the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank of Luxor. Although reports last year suggested this might happen by April 2013, given events in Egypt of late, not surprisingly this did not happen.

Last week it was confirmed that the replica of Tutankhamun’s Tomb will now be erected near Carter’s residence, with installation reported to begin in December. The Guardian carried an interesting article with the news, highlighting the significance of this project for local, sustainable tourism. Other reports suggest that the replica will stay in Luxor until the planned Grand Egyptian Museum is ready to receive it and the various, now famous artefacts found in the tomb by Carter and his team.

Understandably, there is concern that the replica will not be popular with tourists. Sadly, the original tomb, as with many other sensitive archaeological sites, is suffering from the effects of large numbers of visitors each year, despite the existing restrictions. Access to a replica can be more relaxed, allowing visitors to explore the tomb more thoroughly if they so wish. Such was the intention behind the replica of the famous Lascaux cave in southern France. And, that people visit a replica of Lascaux has not stopped tourism to that site.

The replica is said to be one of the most sophisticated ever created, building on techniques used to recreate Lascaux. Carried out by the Factum Foundation, based in Spain, their website has a full report with fascinating photographs of the various stages in the making of the facsimile of the Egyptian King’s tomb.

Highlights of Archaeology travel in the News

New Archaeology Museums Open

More exciting news from last week, this time from the south of France, is the opening of the extension to the Musée Départemental Arles Antique. Pride of place, in fact the purpose behind the building of the extension, is the exceptional Roman barge excavated from the Rhône River in 2004. The wooden barge measures 31 metres in length and is all but complete, and is thought to date to around 50 AD. Not only is the barge exceptionally well preserved, it is the only such artefact from this period of Europe’s past to be on public display. A review (in French), with a good collection of photographs can bee seen on the Frequence.Sud.fr website.

Nearly 24 years ago the United Kingdom Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee branded the visitor experience at Stonehenge as “a national disgrace”. Some 85 years after the idea for a Visitor Centre was first suggested, and after decades of reports and enquiries, discussions and plans, a new £27m visitor centre will finally open at Stonehenge on 18 December 2013, it was announced last week.Besides the usual café and shop one expects to find at such sites, for the first time there will be a state-of-the-art interpretative centre that will display archaeological finds from the site. Read the interesting article in the Guardian that gives a brief timeline of some of the milestones along this road.

Temporary Exhibitions Opening Next Week

  • 9 October Petra. Wonder in the desert, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (Leiden, The Netherlands)
  • 11 October London’s Lost Jewels: The Mystery of the Cheapside Hoard, Museum of London (London, UK)

See a more detailed list of temporary archaeological exhibits around the World on at this time.

News About Forthcoming Exhibitions

New on the Archaeology Travel Website

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The near complete Roman barge on display  in the Musée Départemental Arles Antique.

The only Roman barge on public display. Photograph: © Service Communication de la Ville Arles