The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) announced today that it has nearly completed its work at the Tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypt, one of the most famous cultural heritage sites in the world. The project—a multiyear collaboration between the GCI and Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities (formerly known as the Supreme Council of Antiquities) focused on conservation and the creation of a sustainable plan for continued conservation and management of the tomb. Work at the legendary site included the conservation of wall paintings, environmental and infrastructure improvements, and training for future care of the site.
”This project greatly expanded our understanding of one of the best known and significant sites from antiquity, and the methodology used can serve as a model for similar sites,” says Tim Whalen, John E. and Louise Bryson Director of the Getty Conservation Institute. “The work at Tutankhamen’s tomb is representative of the kind of collaborative effort the GCI undertakes with colleagues internationally to advance conservation practice and to protect our cultural heritage.”
The discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb, located in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, is considered one of the most spectacular in the history of archaeology. Built hastily upon the death of the young King Tutankhamen, the tomb was buried by flood debris at its entrance soon after it was sealed, and as a result evaded plunder for over 3,000 years. After discovering the tomb in 1922, Howard Carter carefully documented and stabilized the tomb’s contents, some of which have been exhibited around the world. The tomb itself became a “must-see” attraction for visitors to Egypt, which resulted in concerns regarding the site’s condition.
The tomb still houses a handful of original objects, including the mummy of Tutankhamen himself (on display in an oxygen-free case), the quartzite sarcophagus with its granite lid on the floor beside it, the gilded wooden outermost coffin, and the wall paintings of the burial chamber. The concerns regarding the tomb included the humidity and carbon dioxide levels, and the dust introduced by visitors.