About our project
Learn more about us and what we do.
Protecting Tutankhamun’s treasures, Together
Japan International Cooperation Agency,
Grand Egyptian Museum,
Joint Conservation Project
As the construction of GEM progresses, the Egyptian government constructed the Conservation Center facility that is affiliated to GEM(herein after referred to as GEM-CC) on its own budget in 2010. Regarding GEM-CC, JICA has implemented "The Grand Egyptian Museum Conservation Center Project" which started from June 2008 until March 2016. The project conducted training courses on preservation and conservation on replicas and using the latest cutting-edge analytic instruments, The overall goal of the late project was that the GEM-CC is established as a conservation and research hub institution with internationally recognizable standards.
On the other hand, GEM-CC is now committed to conserve and prepare a large number of artifacts before the opening of the GEM. In this context, GEM-CC and JICA planned to start an advanced Joint Conservation Project on conservation of selected artifacts from GEM collection to exchange the experiences and further enhance the skills of GEM-CC staff.
In this regard, a JICA mission was sent to define the details of the technical cooperation project, "Grand Egyptian Museum Joint Conservation Project: GEM-JC"in May 2016. As a result, the mission acknowledged the importance and necessity of the project, and it was decided to implement the project by signing the Record of Discussions between GEM and JICA.
Overall goal of the project:
This project is concerned with implementing all conservation processes (condition check, first aid, packing, transportation, analysis, conservation and making recommendations for display). Through this experience GEM-CC conservation specialists will enhance their skills, as well as improving GEM-CC's capacity as an organization. It is expected that GEM-CC staff will complete all conservation activities.
What artifacts are we working on?
The project has selected "target artifacts" from GEM's vast collection, let us introduce to you the target artifacts of our project.
72 is the number of artifacts chosen to be the scope of our project, They include objects from wood, textile, stone and mural paintings. The selection was done after a great deal of considerations to many factors, most importantly that the number of artifacts that are planned to be stored or displayed at GEM reaches up to 100,000 pieces, 50,000 of which will be exhibited including Tutankhamen's treasures collection. GEM has its affiliated GEM-CC (The Grand Egyptian Museum Conservation Center) to be responsible for conservation of such a huge number of artifacts, however, our project is limited to 3 years only, so it was necessary to make careful selection of the target artifacts. After consulting with GEM, the number of targeted artifacts was narrowed down to the ones that is most needed for the opening and suitable for transfer of technical knowledge through the project. Furthermore, we divided the target artifacts into 10 "lead artifacts" and 61 "follow artifacts".
Target artifacts groups
Learn about the groups into which target artifacts are categorized.
8pieces of wooden artifacts were chosen as target artifacts, 5 chariots and 3 beds of king Tutankhamun, 2 of which are lead target artifacts and the other 6 pieces are follow artifacts.
Chariots: 2 of the 5 chariots, currently exhibited in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo, both are thought to be made especially for the ritual, and were made by utilizing bentwood technique to make the body and wheels, and the surface is decorated with gold leaf over white substrate. Moreover, it's constructed with composite materials such as stone and metal in the decoration of the cockpit.
The other 3 chariots are thought to be made for hunting. So when they are compared to the ritual ones they seem more practical, and their design is simple. However, the body is manufactured with bentwood technique, and uses stone and metal in joining parts and decorations like the ritual chariots.
Beds: On the other hand, the 3 large ritual beds are manufactured by processing wood and constructing it together to form the body part. On top of it there are gold leaf decorations over a white substrate. Also, the bed's bracing posts are decorated with Lion head, Hippo head, Bull head respectively, and decorated with stone, glass and ivory.
Mural Paintings group
7pieces of wall paintings and stone were chosen as target artifacts, 1 of which is a lead target artifacts and the other 6 pieces are follow artifacts. Ini-Senefru-Ishetef's mural paintings were originally painted on the plaster substrate on the surface of the mud brick wall of his mastaba tomb in Dahshur. However, in the 19th century the wall surface was cut and moved to Egyptian Museum in Cairo, then displayed within wooden showcases that are fixed to the walls. These paintings are separated and piled up into different cases which made understanding of the whole context very difficult, and therefore diminishing the meaning and value.
Furthermore, the surface deposit such as efflorescence of salts can be observed. Therefore, suitable analysis and conservation treatments will be determined through the project. Additionally, it is suggested to arrange the scenes of mural paintings from Ini-Senefru-Ishetef's tomb and King Senefru's limestone according to their original wall compositions in GEM and to put them together to form the story in a way that is easily understood.
57pieces of textile were chosen as target artifacts, 7 of which are lead artifacts and the other 50 pieces are follow artifacts. As for textile of King Tutankhamen, the level of deterioration is not the same for every artifact. However, generally the fibers that construct the textile are deteriorated and in an extremely brittle condition. When the textile artifacts were excavated, most of them were found either folded or rolled up.
As for the artifacts where the fibers are extremely deteriorated, it will be very difficult to unfold them. Additionally, among these target textile artifacts, there are some artifacts which use dyed fabric that is now faded throughout the years.
we have three main objectives designed according to the process of conservation.
Process before transportation of artifacts
Process before conservation
The project implementation structure puts the Egyptian members in the center of the structure. On the top of the structure is the Joint coordination Committee (JCC) chaired by General Director of GEM. The committee is responsible for reviewing the strategies of the project and following-up its activities.
Below comes the Project Manager (General Director of Conservation Technical Affairs) who is responsible for the management and implementation of the project, coordinating the project activity and reviewing the conservation and work plans, consulting withEgyptian managers and Japanese management and technical advisors.The project comprises 3 committees and 7 groups; each group comprises members from both Egyptian and Japanese sides.