Multidisciplinary approach for the investigation and analysis of a gilded wooden bed of King Tutankhamun

Citation:
Abdrabou, A., N. M. N. El Hadidi, S. A. M. Hamed, and M. Abdallah, "Multidisciplinary approach for the investigation and analysis of a gilded wooden bed of King Tutankhamun", Journal of Archaeological Science Reports, vol. 21, pp. 553-564, 2018.

Abstract:

This paper describes for the first time in detail the investigation of a gilded wooden bed from king Tutankhamun's funerary collection since the discovery of the tomb in 1922; with the aim of identifying the botanical species of wood and the chemical composition of the materials used in the preparatory gilding layers and also the materials used in the previous treatments interventions. The botanical species of wood and textile were identified by observing the thin sections under an optical transmission light microscope; the gilding materials layered on the wood surface and the previous treatment materials were analyzed by several scientific and analytical measures including visible-induced ultraviolet luminescence (UVL), optical microscopy (OM), X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Cross-sections of gilding layers were also performed and studied by OM and environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM). The microscopic observation of wood thin sections made it possible to identify the wood used in the legs and angle brackets as Acacia sp, whereas Tamarix sp was used for the foot boards. Four preparation layers were observed on the wood surface via micro-stratigraphic analysis. An interesting black layer made of carbon (from vegetable and animal origin) was found between the wood surface and woven linen layer, the white preparation layer was identified as calcium carbonate and the coarse paste layer proved tobe a mixture of calcite, quartz and hematite. The organic binder was composed of a protein-based material, most probably animal glue. Additionally, different materials were identified from previous treatments interventions. The analyses provided detailed information concerning the original materials and the materials added during the previous treatment interventions, which need to be considered when applying a future conservation plan.

Related External Link

Tourism