King Tut’s last chariot makes its way to the Grand Egyptian museum

On 5 May, Egypt moved the sixth and last chariot of famed pharaoh Tutankhamun to the king’s vast collection of items in an under-construction museum near the pyramids in Giza.

The unique artifact, which has been a major feature of the military museum for over 30 years, was paraded through Cairo with a military police escort to its final resting place at the Grand Egyptian Museum — home to thousands of artifacts spanning different dynasties of ancient Egypt. 

Tutankhamun, an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty (c. 1332 – 1323 BC in Egyptian chronology), reigned more than 3,000 years ago from the age of 10 during the pivotal period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom or sometimes the New Empire Period.

The nearly intact tomb of King Tut was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings, located on the west bank of the Nile river in Luxor. For many, King Tut embodies ancient Egypt’s glory, because his tomb was packed with the glittering wealth of the rich 18th Dynasty. He has, since the discovery of his intact tomb, been referred to colloquially as King Tut.

Experts stand around the chariot. Credit: Nariman El-Mofty/AP/JEP

King Tut’s items, including the six chariots, are to be put on display in halls covering 7,000 square meters of the museum. The Antiquities Ministry has been gradually moving King Tut’s belongings to the new museum to undergo restoration before they are put on display.

Saturday’s relocation of King Tut’s sixth chariot was preceded by the fourth International Tutankhamun Conference which was attended by a wide range of Egyptologists and archaeologists from the world over.

During the conference, Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said, according to Egypt Today, that the first phase of the museum, including King Tut’s halls, will be completed by the end of this year but the date for the museum’s soft opening has yet to be decided.

Experts stand around the chariot. Credit: Nariman El-Mofty/AP/JEP

A total of six historic chariots were collected from museums across Egypt, including Luxor Museum and the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, to be displayed at the Grand Egyptian Museum.

“A total of 4800 out of 5398 pieces of King Tutankhamun’s artifacts were moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum,” said Assistant Minister of Antiquities Mostafa Wazeery during a press conference. He further assured that all Tut’s artifacts that were moved from other museums to GEM will be replaced with other artifacts.

Former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs and Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass told reporters excavation work on the tomb of King Tut’s wife, Ankhesenamun is currently underway and is expected to bear fruit soon. The museum currently hosts more than 43,200 artifacts.