Preservation & Conservation of Mummies & Sarcophagi

Author: Nicola G. L., Nicola M., Nicola A. ; Typology: articolo

Licence: CreativeCommons CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 ; Year: 2006; Language: English

Download pdf (4.722 Kb) on-line publication date: 23/12/2011


In Italy, and particularly in the collection held by the Egyptian Museum of Turin, there are many archaeological findings representing a challenge, in terms of conservation. Most of them were unearthed during the archaeological excavation campaigns carried out in Egypt during the XIXth and XXth century whilst some of them are donations received from private collections formerly belonging to well-to-do persons and noblemen of the XIXth century, when it was fashionable to own Egyptian artifacts or even mummies. In many cases these collectors or their heirs donated such items to the museums for patronage or when they were no longer willing to possess them. These donations often constitute small collections, almost unknown, and held in Archaeological and/or Civic Museums. Until recently, archaeological findings of this kind were stored as and exhibited without the care required for a museum object, submitting them to improper restoration involving irreversible consequences, such as in case of mummies’ bandage removal and inappropriate use of sarcophagi, and well as invasive and irreversible treatments.
The conservation of this type of archaeological material is difficult although quite often
reserving unexpected surprises and great satisfaction. In this essay we will focus on some
preservation and conservation issues we had to face when performing conservation activities on the mummies and sarcophagi acquired by some museums from private collections. Special attention will be drawn on environmental parameters, research and analysis, transportation systems, compatibility of materials and philosophy of conservation.



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