CAIRO: Two pink granite columns belonging to King Ramses II, each six meters high and weighing 13 tons, are among some of the most important artifacts newly received by the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) to be included in its display.
The museum received 2,000 objects of various sizes from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir and Tel El-Yahoudeya, amid tight security measures from the Tourism and Antiquities Police.
General supervisor Atef Miftah said that the number of pieces transferred to GEM had reached 54,000 with the new arrivals, adding that the granite columns would be placed on the museum’s stairs as a “huge architectural element.”
Al-Tayeb Abbas, the museum’s director-general of archaeological affairs, said that there were also 54 artifacts from the King Tutankhamun collection.
These include gold ornaments, necklaces, and a statue of gilded wood depicting Tutankhamun on the back of a leopard. He holds a stick in one hand and a torch in the other and can be seen wearing the white crown of pharaonic Upper Egypt and the sacred cobra on his forehead. He is also shown wearing a wide necklace that covers his chest and shoulders and ends with a row of beads.
There was a collection of pottery vessels from Tel El-Yahoudeya, silver coins and metal statues.
Issa Zidan, director-general of executive affairs for the restoration and transfer of antiquities at GEM, said that the process of receiving and transporting antiquities was proceeding according to plan.
He added that 47 wooden pieces were transferred from Khufu’s second ship, bringing the total number transferred to GEM to 1,053, and that a report had been submitted for each item to prove the state of its preservation accurately.
The restoration team had done the documentation and work for all the pieces, and the process of packaging and transporting the artifacts was carried out at the highest level of efficiency and in accordance with the scientific standards used for packing and transporting antiquities.
Zidan also said that the Tutankhamun artifacts were handed over to the wood restoration laboratory and the non-organic archeology restoration laboratory so that they could be restored and repaired by a specialist team to prepare them for display at GEM’s opening.
Egypt began work on GEM in 2008 at a cost of approximately $550 million, with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities funding $100 million and the remainder facilitated through a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, in addition to other local and international donations.