Regulation of the Day 145: Unregistered Chariots

When King Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered in 1922, six chariots were among the artifacts found inside. One of them even had some wear and tear; maybe Pharaoh had personally used it for hunting.

It is even possible that falling off that very chariot caused the broken leg that is believed to have ultimately killed him at the age of 18 or so. That chariot is now on display in New York as part of a traveling exhibition of Tutenkhamen’s artifacts.

Getting the chariot from Egypt to New York was quite an ordeal. At roughly 3,300 years of age, the wood is fragile. First it was carefully packed into a truck and driven to Cairo from the Luxor museum. Then it was loaded onto a New York-bound cargo jet. A curator was by its side at all times.

Once it arrived stateside, the New York Times tells of an unexpected regulatory hurdle through which the chariot had to pass before leaving JFK International Airport for its Times Square destination and painstaking reassembly:

When New York traffic officials reviewed the papers required for the oversize truck that would transport the chariot into Manhattan, they saw that the cargo inside was classified as a vehicle, and demanded its Vehicle Identification Number.

“I’m totally serious,” said Mr. Lach, the exhibition’s designer. “But we got it cleared up.”

Good for them. The exhibit is on until January 2 if you care to look for the chariot’s VIN yourself.

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