About our project

Learn more about us and what we do.

 

Background:

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.

71 is the number of artifacts choosen to be the scope of our project, They include objects from wood, textile, stone and mural paintaings. The selction 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".

Lead Artifacts

Lead artifacts are chosen to be a model for the follow artifacts to follow, therefore it is the most deteriorated , most difficult to conserve, require technical knowledge and skills from the experts. The Japanese and Egyptian experts will work jointly to conduct all processes including directly engaging in the remedial conservation process.

Target artifacts groups

Learn about the groups into which target artifacts are categorized.

Wood group

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.

Textile group

56pieces of textile were chosen as target artifacts, 7 of which are lead artifacts and the other 49 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.

Our activities

we have three main objectives designed according to the process of conservation.

Objective 1

Process before transportation of artifacts

Building the best team

Selecting personnels based on their experience and specialities is essential for guarnteeing the best results, achieving the project's goals within the limited time-frame.
Thus, 3 conservation teams are built to work on the different target artifacts groups given their various nature and components. The teams shall consists of both Japanese and Egyptian experts from various disciplines.

Condition check

Condition check of current condition:
Members of each group will carry out checking of the current condition of the artifacts and create a database of all collected information.
Based on this survey, the necessary tasks related to conservation of each target artifact will be defined.

First Aid

Before transportation, each team will consult with the transportation experts and determine the necessity and methods of First-Aid for each artifact to ensure its safety and stability. However, First-Aid will be carried out only when it's deemed necessary.

Packing and transportation

The packing of artifacts before transportation is key to safe transportation to GEM-CC. The Japanese transportation team proffesionals from Nippon Express Ltd, and the transportation specialists from GEM-CC will work together on transportation activities.

Objective 2

Process before conservation

Fumigation

Selection of method of fumigation:
Investigation of active microbiological and insect damage will be carried out. Based on this data, the necessity of fumigation will be discussed. If it is deemed necessary, adequate fumigation methods will be selected.

Conducting the fumigation:
Using the selected fumigation method, fumigation treatment will be conducted by GEM-CC and Japanese fumigation team.

Evaluation of the effectiveness of fumigation:
The effectiveness of fumigation will be evaluated to ensure that no live infestation exists after the fumigation process.

Analysis

Selecting method of diagnosis:The analysis methods will be discussed based on the current condition of the artifact, taking into consideration all important factors such as the original material and conservation materials used in the artifacts.

Conducting the diagnosis:
Based on the result of the selection of the diagnostic methods, diagnostic analysis will be conducted.

Summarizing the result of diagnosis:
The summary of the result of the analysis will be prepared, in order to diagnose the original materials and degree of deterioration.

The conservation plan

Formulation of the conservation plan:
Based on the results of the analysis, diagnosis and the conservation policy, a detailed conservation plan for each lead artifact will be formulated by the committees' thorough discussion among team members, including conservators, archaeologists, and conservation scientists etc.

Objective 3

Conservation works

Conducting conservation work

Preparation for conservation:
The required materials and equipment will be provided and the working places will be secured.

Conservation treatment:
Based on the conservation policy and plan, the conservation treatment of the lead artifacts will be conducted jointly by GEM-CC and the Japanese conservators.

Periodical monitoring and evaluation of the conservation:
Regular monitoring and evaluation by the conservation team will be conducted to check whether conservation work is being practiced according to approved conservation policies and conservation plan. Also, if any problem arises during the conservation work, the measures for improvements shall be discussed accordingly.

Providing advice for the follow artifacts:
Based on the results of the lead artifacts of which conservation treatment is complete, Japanese experts will provide advice on the conservation treatment of the follow artifacts periodically.

Storing artifacts after conservation treatment:
After the conservation work, the lead artifacts will be moved to the storage or exhibitions. If the artifacts will be moved directly to the gallery in GEM for display, the gallery's environment must be monitored. Furthermore, the conservation team will give advices and consults with the exhibition designer to ensure sustainable preservation of artifacts.

 

Publish results

Documentation:
Documentation of each process of activities of the project, namely, documentation, first aid, transportation, fumigation treatment, diagnostic analysis, and conservation treatment will be coordinated. This footage will be an extremely important resource as part of conservation archive.

Preparation of report:
The Egyptian and Japanese members involved in this project will cooperate in summarizing the results of the work, including documentation, first aid, packing, transportation, fumigation, diagnostic analysis, conservation treatment, and preparing technical conservation report for each target artifacts.

Publication:
The achievements and results of the project is planned to be summarized and published jointly by the Egyptian and Japanese team in the conservation conferences and symposiums.

Follow up the exhibition

Sharing information with display planners:
Sharing information related to the conservation treatment and coordinating with the exhibition planner constantly is very important. So, as for wooden artifacts and textiles, information regarding specifications of specialized exhibition cases or mounts will be coordinated. For mural paintings, ideas and proposals regarding the presentation of mural paintings in the context of original mastaba tomb will be shared and ideas on exhibition mount and supporting materials will be exchanged as well. Working constantly to ensure perfect coordination at all times.

Providing advice on display planning:
Based on the results of previous processes of diagnostic analysis and conservation treatment, conservation team will advise display planners on the most suitable display method to preserve and sustain the artifact’s condition. Regarding wooden and textile artifacts, suitable exhibition show cases can be proposed. For the stone and mural paintings, methods of reassembling of the pieces can be suggested.

 

Implementation Structure

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.


 

 

Project Affiliates