CAIRO, July 22 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced Monday it has started the sterilization work of the coffin of ancient Egyptian King Tutankhamun in order to restore it for the first time since it was discovered in 1922.

The ministry said in a statement that the coffin was moved from the isolation area at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) to the wood restoration plant of the GEM to start the sterilization work in preparation for the restoration process.

Last week, the ministry announced that the gilded coffin was transferred from King Tut's cemetery in Luxor to the GEM for restoration.

According to the ministry, the initial examination showed that the gypsum layers bearing the golden layers of the coffin suffer sorts of damage.

The ministry also said that there are cracks in the golden layer in the cover and base of the coffin.

The ministry confirmed that the coffin will be restored with the latest methods and scientific techniques, noting that it will be displayed at the GEM which is due to open in 2020.

Tutankhamun, who ascended the throne at the age of nine and died at 19, is the world's best-known pharaoh of ancient Egypt. The young king ruled from 1332 BC to 1323 BC, during a period known as the New Kingdom in ancient Egypt.

He won his fame for his tomb, which was discovered by British Egyptologist Howard Carter in 1922 and has remained one of the best preserved.