King Tut hit by the curse of the dome

ACCORDING to legend, the pharaoh Tutankhamun brought down a curse on all those present at the opening of his tomb. But now the boy king of Egypt has finally met his match — the curse of the Millennium Dome.

Plans for a grand exhibition of the teenage pharaoh’s treasures at the venue have been thrown into doubt because Egyptian officials will not allow the artefacts to be displayed next to a proposed casino.

The dome’s owner is hoping to be granted a licence for Britain’s first Las Vegas-style gambling venue next month.

However, Cairo’s most senior antiquities official has described such a move as a “disaster”, claiming this weekend that it would “insult the dignity” of Tutankhamun.

“If there is a casino in the dome, I will not send the exhibits to London,” declared Zahi Hawass, the secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

“It’s insulting. These Egyptian artefacts have dignity and therefore we should keep this dignity. I will never — [even] if they give us a billion dollars — show an Egyptian exhibit next door to a casino.”

The new “King Tut” exhibition is due to arrive in London next November — 35 years after artefacts from the pharaoh’s tomb first went on display at the British Museum. Organisers are hoping for a repeat of the success of the 1972 exhibition which drew 1.7m visitors and led to eight-hour queues.

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