CAIRO – 17 September 2020: Vice President of the Wood Antiquities Laboratory at the Grand Egyptian Museum Ahmed Abd Rabbo stated that the GEM’s Wood Antiquities Laboratory is one of the most important laboratories in the Middle East region.
“We specialize in restoring all kinds of wooden monuments, colored, gilded, decorated, and with various inlays,” said Abd Rabbo. He further noted that when a piece is first received in the restoration lab documentation procedures of the piece begin using a multispectral imaging technology.
“There is a normal photograph, and there is urtlaviolet imaging, through which the places of previous restorations are identified; the infrared imaging works to clarify places that do not appear to the naked eye and the X-ray imaging helps determine the technique the ancient Egyptians used to make the piece,” explained Abd Rabbo.
According to Abd Rabbo, through the aforementioned checks and analyses, the components of the piece are found out, without taking any samples.
“Through spectroscopy, we can know the layers of preparation, decoration and coloring that are present. Through the analysis, we can identify the previous restoration materials. We then start with the pilot study,which is applied to a cloned sample with the same specification of the piece before applying it to the piece itself.” And it is then decided whether the piece will undergo restoration with traditional material or advanced material.
"Those studies take time to find the right substance to use, because after using that material, examinations and analyses are repeated to see the effect of the used materials on the restored piece. Then we begin to install the veneers and cement, and prepare the piece for display,” concluded Abd Rabbo.
The lab currently includes six chariots and six beds belonging to King Tutankhamun, in addition to the coffin of King Tutankhamun, which was scheduled to be finished eight months after reaching the lab, a mission that has been accomplished despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lab also contains pieces from Al-Assasif cache findings.