The BBC are airing a well researched and balanced story on the Tutankhamun facsimile and the questions this object has generated. The arrival of the facsimile of the Tomb of Tutankhamun in Egypt in November as a gift from Factum Foundation to the country has created significant interest not just in the tomb itself but in the concept of authenticity and the potential for turning tourism into a positive force by creating exact facsimiles of subjects like the Tomb in order that the experience the tourist pays for is a powerful one but also that the original nearby is carefully preserved. The BBC introduction asks the question: "Egypt's Valley of the Kings is a popular tourist attraction, but years of visitors trekking around the old tombs of the pharaohs is causing these historic sites to deteriorate. A an exact replica of Tutankhamun's tomb has now been created - but will tourists really visit ..."
During the European Task force the facsimile was unveiled by Baroness Ashton. The Government of Egypt and the European Union both reiterated their full support for the installation of the Tutankhamun facsimile in the Valley of the Kings and a new initiative to preserve the Theban Necropolis through the application of new recording technologies and the creation of exact facsimiles of the tombs that are either closed to the public for conservation reasons or are in need of closure to preserve them for future generations. It is our hope that we will be able to install the Tutankhamun facsimile next to Howard Carter's House in the Valley of the Kings while at the same time the original is still open for a short time. In this way a real test can be carried out with visitors able to view each site and their reaction understood.
Can tourism protect culture?
The driving logic for this project is to turn the interest of the millions of visitors into a force that will ensure the preservation of Egypt’s cultural heritage. Only with a wide range of co-operation and sponsorship from all over the world can these important testimonies to the past be permanently protected and recorded for posterity. The Supreme Council of Antiquities is committed to ensure that innovative approaches and new technologies are used to preserve and protect the sites in Egypt so they can be passed on to future generations in good condition.The facsimile of the tomb of Tutankhamun has proved the validity of the idea. Focused action is now required – action that will result in a sustainable and carefully managed approach to the conservation of the Theban Necropolis that will also bring new skills and employment to Luxor.
Financial support is needed to turn this vision into a reality - demonstrating that imaginative solutions can both help to preserve our shared cultural heritage and provide an enhanced visitor experience – and most importantly, a deeper understanding of the dynamic relationship between the present, the past and the future.
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