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Egypt reveals face behind that famous golden mask

Associated Press
Published November 5, 2007


LUXOR, Egypt - King Tut's buck-toothed face was unveiled Sunday for the first time in public - more than 3,000 years after the pharaoh was buried.

Archaeologists carefully lifted the fragile mummy out of a quartz sarcophagus decorated with stone-carved protective goddesses, momentarily pulling aside a beige covering to reveal a leathery black body.

The linen was then replaced over Tut's narrow body so only his face and tiny feet were exposed, and the 19-year-old king, whose life and death has captivated people for nearly a century, was moved to a simple glass climate-controlled case to keep it from turning to dust.

"I can say for the first time that the mummy is safe and the mummy is well-preserved, and at the same time, all the tourists who will enter this tomb will be able to see the face of Tutankhamun for the first time," Egypt's antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said from inside the hot and sticky tomb.

The mystery surrounding King Tutankhamun and his glittering gold tomb has entranced ancient Egypt fans since British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the hidden tomb, revealing a trove of fabulous gold and precious stone treasures and propelling the once-forgotten pharaoh into global stardom.

He wasn't Egypt's most powerful or important king, but his staggering treasures, rumors of a mysterious curse that plagued Carter and his team - debunked long ago - and several books and TV documentaries dedicated to Tut have added to his intrigue.

King Tut's face, buck teeth and all, is unveiled 

More than 3,000 years after the youngest and most famous pharaoh to rule ancient Egypt was shrouded in linen and buried in his golden underground tomb, King Tut's face was unveiled in public on Sunday. "The face of the golden boy is amazing," said Zahi Hawass, Egypt's antiquities chief. "It has magic and it has mystery." British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered Tut's tomb in Egypt's Valley of Kings 85 years ago. World, 12A

Fast facts

King Tutankhamun

-The pharaoh was 8 when he ascended to the throne and 19 when he died.

-The mummy was placed in an air-conditioned glass case to protect it from heat and humidity brought into the chamber by tourists and to keep it from turning into dust.

-A CT scan revealed Tut stood a healthy but slight 5-foot-6.

-Tut had the overbite characteristic of kings from his family.

-The body was broken into 18 pieces when its discoverer, Howard Carter, took it from its tomb and tried to remove its famous golden mask.

-Experts say a broken thigh may have led to his death.

[Last modified November 5, 2007, 00:48:09]

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