Further Investigation of a Ptolemaic Wooden Coffin Lid from Abusir el-Meleq in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Citation:
Badr, N. M., M. F. ALI, N. M. N. El Hadidi, and M. ABDELRAHMAN, "Further Investigation of a Ptolemaic Wooden Coffin Lid from Abusir el-Meleq in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo", Ancient Egyptian Coffins Past • Present • Future, Cambridge, Oxbow Books, 2019.

Abstract:

Investigations in the basement of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo led to the rediscovery of a coffin lid of unknown provenance belonging to smA-tAwy son of iaH-ms (JE.36806). The lid was covered with two textile layers made from linen that do not belong to the coffin lid. According to the excavation Journal of Otto Rubensohn, the coffin was found in a family tomb at Abusir el-Meleq, Northern Middle Egypt. This study aims to confirm that the coffin lid dates back to the Ptolemaic period and that its base is exhibited at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo with a different number (TR. 25/8/19/3). Non-destructive methods (Portable X-ray radiography, Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), Environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy coupled with Attenuated Total Reflection (FTIR-ATR) were used to identify tool marks and carpentry technology used during the Ptolemaic era in ancient Egypt. The lid was composed of six pieces of Tamarix sp. wood that were joined together with scarf joints and wooden dowels. Only the outer surface of the lid was covered with ground preparation layers that had been applied directly on the wooden support by brush, hiding any tool marks that were clearly obvious in the inner side of the lid. The detailed study of the coffin that was made in the necropolis workshop is a good example of woodworking techniques applied during that period.

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