Having been sealed for several thousand years, opening the royal tombs in Egypt has resulted in damage from the moisture, dust and movement of tourists who naturally wish to visit these unique sites. 3D scanning and printing has come to the rescue by enabling the creation on a facsimile in an underground chamber not far from the original in the Valley of the Kings. The technology has recreated a replica of such detail that it is difficult to distinguish from the original and will also enable a more intimate experience for visitors
“These tombs were never built to be visited, they were built to last for eternity,” said Adam Lowe, of the Factum Foundation, a Madrid-based conservation organization that created the facsimile in collaboration with Zurich-based Society of the Friends of the Royal Tombs in Egypt and the Egyptian Tourism and Antiquities ministries. “They lasted very successfully for 3,300 and in the 90 years since it has been open, it suffered a great deal,” Lowe told The Associated Press. “All of the attempts to try and conserve it create more problems.”
At the moment the original tomb will remain open, but there will be a heavy discount in the ticket prices for the replica. A great advantage of this technology is that it will enable to visitors eventually to see tombs which have had to be closed. Facsimiles are also planned of the tombs of the pharaoh Seti I and Nefertari, a wife of the pharaoh Ramses the Great, both currently closed to the general public due to their condition.
With imagination, you can imagine all sorts of possibilities for this technology. Could the British Museum create copies of the Elgin Marbles for example, for display at the Parthenon itself?