Tutankhamun's sarcophagus leaves its tomb for the first time

The gold-plated sarcophagus of Egypt's boy-king Tutankhamun was on Sunday revealed for the first time outside the tomb, as restoration work gets underway in a process that is expected to last eight months.

Egyptian antiquities officials revealed the sarcophagus to the media at the conservation centre of the new Grand Egyptian Museum.

The state sarcophagus, part of three sarcophagi that were found in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, is very "fragile", antiquities minister Khaled Anany said, adding that it had never been restored since the original discovery almost 100 years ago.

Tutankhamun's tomb.
Tutankhamun's tomb. Photo credit: Reuters

The sarcophagi and the treasured collection of Tutankhamun's tomb are expected to be the centrepieces of the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) which Egypt will open next year near the Pyramids of Giza.

British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of the 18th dynasty king in the Valley of the Kings, in Luxor, in 1922. The tomb was untouched and included about 5000 artefacts.

The ministry said the sarcophagus was transported from southern Egypt to the Grand Egyptian Museum last month.

Egypt earlier announced that the Grand Egyptian Museum, which has been under construction for about 15 years and is partially funded by Japan, will officially open by the end of 2020.