Conservation and Management of the Tomb of Tutankhamen
Condition MonitoringA long-term condition monitoring system is important so that damage or deterioration of the tomb and wall paintings can be identified early, before progressive loss or irreparable damage has occurred and to ensure that treatments are undertaken based on examination of prior documentation.
Damage and deterioration can be caused by visitors touching the paintings, the effects of climatic and environmental impact on original materials, biological activity, geological instability, and hydrological events. In the past, conservation treatment has occurred based on assumed need and preconceived assumptions about condition—for example, fine cracks in painted plaster are stable and can be shown to be so from photographs. However, the actual risk of continued deterioration of the paintings has not been carefully studied.
Not all previous treatments may have been necessary and may have caused more damage to the paintings. Condition monitoring is a way to assess risk and to establish when change has occurred and when treatment is required.
Monitoring in KV 62 includes the development of a protocol for periodic inspection and photography of the condition of the tomb. At present, biannual visual inspections of the tomb and its paintings are carried out by comparing actual conditions against established photographic documentation. Training of SCA conservators in monitoring of the tomb wall paintings is being undertaken.
Page updated: March 2013