Egypt has three icons that symbolize its ancient glories:

1) The pyramids
2) The Great Sphinx
3) The golden mask of the boy king, Tutankhamun.

And while the pyramids and Great Sphinx are safe from the threat of destruction at the hands of Muslim extremists, the famous mask has been damaged by too much care and concern.

There are many versions of how the damage happened, but it seems the beard was accidentally knocked off and epoxy, which is designed for use on stone-work and not metal, was slathered on in the repair attempt. Additionally, the mask was scratched in an attempt to remove excess glue that had smeared.

(Photo: Mohamed El-Shahed, AFP/Getty Images)

However, it seems that one of history’s greatest treasures can be properly restored to its original glory.

German restoration specialist Christian Eckmann told reporters at a news conference at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo that the mask is not endangered, adding it can be properly restored after the glue is removed.

“It is a delicate operation,” Eckmann said. “It has to be done very carefully, but it is reversible.”

The beard fell off in August when the mask was touched during an attempt to adjust the lighting in its case, Eckmann said. The mask was then transferred to the restoration desk. After an unsuccessful attempt to re-secure the piece, it was decided that epoxy resin should be used.

The news of the marred mask didn’t come to light until this week, but quickly ignited concern and outrage among Egyptologists and conservationists.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Egyptologist Monica Hanna, who saw the mask Friday on display at the Egyptian Museum. The beard “has been glued back in a very bad manner. One centimeter of glue can be seen.”

Egypt’s civil unrest led to the looting of several museums, including the famed Cairo Museum, which houses the treasures from King Tutankhamun’s tomb.  During the mayhem, one of the golden statues was heavily damaged, and the heads were ripped off two mummies.

The mask is one of the most revered pieces of artwork from ancient times, so many Egyptophiles are following the news about this iconic piece closely.  It is not great press for the country, which is struggling to attract tourists back to the country after years of civil strife.

Hopefully, both the mask and the relative stability that Egypt once experienced before its experiment with Muslim Brotherhood leadership can be fully restored!