The American Research Center in Eygpt

Tomb of Menna: Pharaonic Tombs

Tomb of Menna: Pharaonic Tombs

Tomb of Menna: Pharaonic Tombs

Director: Melinda Hartwig, Georgia State University
April 2007 - May 2009


Colorimetric measurements being taken. Photo: Melinda Hartwig

The Tomb of Menna (TT 69) is one of the most visited and best preserved of the small 18th Dynasty elite tombs in the Theban necropolis, yet it has never been systematically recorded or fully documented. Constant visitation over a long period and deteriorating environmental conditions have taken their toll on the painted interior.

This project began in 2006 with a feasibility study recording the existing conditions to design an appropriate action plan for recording, conservation, protection and publication of the tomb. Several major tasks were carried out during 2007, preparing the first full documentation and conditions study of the tomb chapel.

In the first phase, the tomb and its environs were surveyed to create the first exact plan of the chapel surroundings. The second phase joined high-resolution digital images with an extensive net of measured points taken inside of the tomb to create an exact plan of the mural and ceiling decoration for documentation purposes, digital epigraphy use, and the final publication. Conservators carried out cleaning tests on selected areas of the wall paintings.

Archaeometry, including XRF, RAMAN spectrometry, and colorimetry, was done in the fourth phase to document the physical and chemical properties of the painting and its matrix as well as to aid conservators and art historians in their analysis of the tomb. Recent work focused on excavation of the tomb burials and conducting an archaeological survey of the forecourt.

In 2009, the Tomb of Menna Project will complete the final site photography. This series of digital photographs will be rectified and stitched together to create an exact copy of the tomb, registered precisely on one plane. The 2009 photographs will also be compared to the first series of photographs taken in the Fall of 2007 to record the progress of the conservation treatments.

The project will end in 2009 with the final presentation of the tomb chapel that includes a new wooden floor and rail system, LED lighting and a bilingual information panel in Arabic and English.

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