conservators working inside tomb of Tutankhamen
 

The GCI and Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) began implementing a conservation plan for the wall paintings in the tomb of Tutankhamen in February 2013, as part of the ongoing collaborative project of the GCI and the SCA to conserve and manage the tomb.

The implementation of the conservation plan follows detailed investigation of the wall paintings, including condition monitoring and recording, scientific analysis of the materials and techniques of the paintings, and a program of treatment testing and evaluation. The aim is to provide a model for conservation planning and implementation in Egypt by addressing a number of issues: the promotion of modern principles and standards of conservation practice; appropriate diagnosis of deterioration and risks; selection of conservation materials based on systematic testing and development; and emphasis on the importance of deciding treatment methods and materials within a wider context of other conservation measures, including environmental control, dust prevention, and long-term condition monitoring.

Recent work concentrated on stabilizing the nearly thirty-five-hundred-year-old wall paintings in the burial chamber. The principal conditions requiring treatment include localized lifting of paint flakes and thin plaster washes, and loose and fragmented areas of plaster. In addition to these conditions, there is widespread dust deposition, as well as nonoriginal surface coatings and drips from undocumented previous treatments.

Training of local SCA conservators, an important part of the overall five-year collaborative project to conserve the tomb, also continued. Short information videos on the conservation work were also taken as part of the project and will be made available on the GCI website. The next field campaign will be in November of this year. The conservation of the tomb and its wall paintings is scheduled for completion by the end of 2014.