Tourism Curses King Tut's Tomb

Mysterious mold attacks boy pharaoh's burial chamber
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2009 8:16 AM CST
Tourism Curses King Tut's Tomb
CHICAGO - MAY 25: A canopic jar lid recovered from the tomb of Egypt's King Tutankhamun is displayed at the Field Museum May 25, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Mass tourism seems to have cursed King Tut's tomb with a problem as mysterious as the untimely deaths of many members of the 1922 expedition team that discovered the boy pharaoh: The 3,000-year-old tomb is rotting before visitors' eyes. Egypt has called in a team of "bookish versions of Indiana Jones" to get to the bottom of the strange brown spots appearing on the walls of the burial chamber and stop the tomb's decay, the Independent reports.

The experts will try to figure out why elaborate murals of King Tut's journey into the afterlife are dust-covered and peeling, while gilded paint is flaking off the pharaoh's coffin. Researchers think the tomb's six million visitors a year are contributing to the decay, but they don't understand how. "No one knows" what the brown spots are, said the head researcher. "Could they be fungus? Bacteria? Are they still alive? Can they cause harm? We need to find out."
(Read more tourism stories.)

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