The investigation and conservation of a gazalle mummy from the late period in ancient Egypt

Part of : Mediterranean archaeology & archaeometry : international journal ; Vol.13, No.1, 2013, pages 45-66

A Late Period gazelle mummy housed in the Agricultural Museum in Cairo, Egypt was selected for this study. The mummy showed different signs of deterioration, such as white spots, missing tissue, gaps in the linen bandages, and accumulated dust. This study aims to describe the signs of deterioration; to explain the mechanisms of deterioration, and to apply appropriate conservation techniques to the mummy. To achieve these goals, the mummy was first examined by means of visual assessment, AutoCAD, light microscope, microbiological investigation, scanning electron microscope (SEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), amino acid analysis and x-ray diffraction (XRD). The conservation techniques used were mechanical and chemical cleaning, consolidation of wrappings and bandages, completion processes and reconnecting loss part of the gazelle’s leg. The results of investigation revealed that the mummy suffered from a loss of amides in the bone which increased their crystallinity, as well as oxidation and hydrolysis mechanisms. The wrappings were identified as Cyperus papyrus L. The mechanical and chemical cleaning used removed the surface dust and dirt without damage to the components of the mummy. The wrappings and bandages became strong after using Klucel G as a consolidant material. The paste used in the completion process gave significant results in filling cracks and missing parts of the mummy’s back. In general, all the conservation processes of the mummy revealed its aesthetic value.
Mummy, deterioration, amino acids, FTIR; XRD, conservation
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