Egypt to restrict visits to Tutankhamun tomb

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CAIRO, Nov 11 (Reuters) Egypt will limit the number of visitors to the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun to 400 a day from December 1 and close it from May 2008 for restoration work on the wall paintings, the government said today.

A statement from the Supreme Antiquities Council said the aim was to preserve the tomb, but it gave no details.

The face of the boy pharaoh went on display in the antechamber of the tomb last week when his mummified body was moved from his stone sarcophagus to a sealed Plexiglas case.

Chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass said at the time that the new arrangement would protect the mummy from the damage caused by hundreds of visitors breathing out humid air.

The statement said the tomb in the Valley of the Kings, near the southern town of Luxor, will receive up to 200 visitors in the morning and 200 in the afternoon, with a break in between.

It said the restoration work on the coloured walls would be the first since British archaeologist Howard Carter found the largely intact tomb in 1922.

REUTERS KK RN1651

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