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Subject: Mummy


From: Linda Roundhill <artsconservation>
Date: Friday, March 21, 2003
Nickan Eriks <missvhe [at] excite__com> writes

>In our museum we are about to transport an Egyptian mummy for to be
>x-rayed. The linen bundles around the mummy are in a poor state,
>hanging in straps along the sides of the mummy below its cartonnage,
>and are therefore in need of conservation prior to transportation.

I have been contracted to deal with just such a problem at a local
museum. I have yet to treat this condition, but previous display
technicians used very fine specimen pins (of the type used to hold
insects on display). These were  inserted through the wrappings near
the broken ends (where the cloth was still in relatively good
condition) in order to secure them to the mummy.  These pins showed
up clearly on the radiographs, but they did not interfere with the

Although this sounds intrusive and runs the risk of damaging the
textile, examination after 40 years showed surprisingly little
negative impact from this treatment, and it was very effective in
preventing further loss/damage. It also was not visible from a
distance and so was aesthetically acceptable. I hesitate to add
synthetic resins to the other indignities this mummy has suffered,
so if I cannot find an alternative, I may be restricted to replacing
the existing pins with shorter, stainless steel versions.

Girdling with new linen might be a good solution.  I would be
hesitant, however, to cover up any of the straps, since I believe
the winding techniques might be important for dating, provenance and
instructional purposes.   I don't think you mentioned in what way
you intend to secure the new linen to the mummy that would also hold
the straps in place, but I would be interested to know...

Linda S. Roundhill
Art and Antiquities Conservation
18121 157th Ave NE
Woodinville, WA 98072

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:54
                 Distributed: Thursday, March 27, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-16-54-003
Received on Friday, 21 March, 2003

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