Friday, 8 November 2013

Original vs Replica: Questions of Authenticity and Viewer Appreciation at the New King Tut Tomb

Egypt will be opening up a replica of King Tut's tomb, hopefully drawing visitors away from the original structure that has had gradual damage to the wall paintings due to temperature and RH fluctuations.  Although similar replicas around the world, such as Lascaux II, have been extremely successful in both original site preservation and visitor satisfaction, the use of replicas still begs the question of "which is better, a perfect fake or the real deal?"

This article also highlights the efforts of conservators at the Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation, and provides an excellent photograph of conservators at work.  Hurray for conservation visibility!

1 comment:

  1. That's a very interesting question! I think most people would prefer seeing the real deal (why travel all the way to Egypt to see a replica?), but perhaps there are ways to make visiting the replica of the tomb more attractive?

    I went to an exhibition called "Tutankhamun: His Tomb and his Treasures" (oops... still need to write a piece here about my experience there...) where all the objects displayed were replicas of the objects found in Tutankhamun's tomb. The fakes weren't all perfect (wood, painted green, was passed off as copper), but the exhibition was hugely succesful, partly because a reconstruction was made of how the tomb looked when Carter discovered it. It would be a great idea if they would put copies of some of the gravegoods in the replica of the tomb so that, even though visitors don't get to see the real deal, they still get something out of visiting the replica that they wouldn't get from visiting the real tomb, namely experiencing how the tomb originally looked after it had been closed off by the Ancient Egyptians and before it was excavated by Carter.


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