Alfred Lucas's notes on conservation
of objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun

A. Lucas, 10/6/43: Notes on work done on some of the objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Meant for private use and reference only.
In addition, formal notes were made by me on many of the Index Cards
giving treatment of objects.

The importance of these notes is now such that we hope that Lucas would forgive us for making them public - Jaromir Malek.

Concept & Direction: Jaromir Malek
Scanning: Kent Rawlinson, Jenni Navratil
Transcription and editing: Lindsay Allen and Jaromir Malek
Coordination: Elizabeth Fleming

Probably season 1923-4 or 1924-5

TAA i.2.12a.2.1


A. Lucas

Scarlet Colour on Gold.

Sandals 21f + 21g
Round the Sides and Back.
Gold ornamentation applied to the leather consisting of (a) small triangular pieces and (b) small rosettes.
The pieces (a) are all yellow; the pieces (b) are mostly scarlet (Both sides)
Buckle at Front.
Part of the ornamentation consists of a gold floral design. This is composed of (a) outer row of petals (b) inner row of petals (c) rosette and (d) centre.
The edges of the buckle at front and the openwork gold toe-thong are all grey - also small round pieces of gold between the flowers.
The pieces (a) are scarlet, the pieces (b) are grey*, the pieces (c) are scarlet and the centre (d) is yellow.
* This is suggestive of a coating of AgCl - the edges + other parts of this buckle are similarly tarnished.

Sandals 21k and 21l
Round the Sides and Back.
Gold ornamentation applied to the leather consisting of (a) small squares and (b) small rounds
The pieces (a) are yellow; the pieces (b) are mostly slightly tinged with scarlet on both sides but some are yellow.

TAA i.2.12a.2.2


Robe No 21d
The ornamentation consisted of blue beads (cylindrical + round) and gold sequins (convex)
Some of the sequins are yellow, none are scarlet but most are of a dull reddish-brown colour, sometimes on one side but frequently on both.

Robe No 21p
The ornamentation consisted of blue faience daisies and gold daisies. Diam. of gold daisies 1.2cm Diam. of blue daisies 1.1cm. Most of the gold daisies are dull yellow but some are a dull reddish-brown.

Robe No 21q
Ornamented with thick blue faience (convex) and thin sequins of gold. The gold is very tarnished.

Robe No 21r
Ornamented with large, thin gold daisies and two sizes of gold sequins. Both the daisies and sequins are bright yellow and mostly partly scarlet on both

TAA i.2.12a.2.3


sides but the scarlet is very irregularly distributed. The yellow is not tarnished

Robe No 21m
Ornamented with small & gold sequins (convex) which are tarnished

Robe No 21x
Ornamented with gold sequins which are tarnished.

Robe 21aa
Ornamented with gold sequins in two sizes which are tarnished

Garment 21t
Ornamented with gold stars which are much tarnished.

Garment 21jj (possibly 21m)
Gold sequins, tarnished 1cm

TAA i.2.12a.2.3 verso

Robe 46gg
(a) Round
Very dull + tarnished: Brownish colour

(b) Daisy design
Dull + tarnished.
Some brown with suggestion of red
Some with trace green

(c) Round with Cartouche
Dull + tarnished
Some greenish
Some suggestion of dull plum colour
One - green, red, blue + yellow (?optical)

TAA i.2.12a.2.4


Garment 21cc
Ornamented with gold sequins which are tarnished

Throw Sticks 54 d + e
Gesso gilt (ends faience)
Gold dull purple generally small irregular patches of yellow. In one (54d) there is a narrow band of yellow gold next to one of faience ends (? solid gold band removed) In another (54e) there is a narrow scarlet band next to faience.
Purplish bloom
In colour of gold there is a suggestion of tarnished silver (? Ag in Au)

See also
Throne No 91: Head Rest 21c: Leopard's Head 21t
Shrine No 108 + Stand 108a: Footstool 90
Rings 44c to j: Standard 38l
Box 44
Rim of Bowl 44s
Spangles on Skin 44q: Leopard's Head 44q
Sequins on 44t + 44r + 44w

TAA i.2.12a.2.5 Not transcribed.


TAA i.2.12a.2.5 verso

Stick 100 (a)
Gesso gilt: all gold a bright yellow except thin gold inlay on end of blue faience knob which was dull brick red. Red colour came off readily with water + NH3
Stick 100 (b)
Found with (a)
Gilt on gesso in two places.
Gold has a scarlet tinge in parts.

Buckle 44a
In 4 pieces, two having part of the design soldered on to the background, the design being made of applied details such as wire + tiny granules soldered to the background. Two without applied pieces. In both the gold is partly yellow + partly scarlet. In the first case the background is largely scarlet + the applied portions yellow. On one however there is a separate piece of gold soldered on + on this the background is yellow + most of the applied part is scarlet, except some tiny granules which are yellow. There is also a good deal of scarlet on the back. In the second case the scarlet is irregularly distributed on both face + back.

TAA i.2.12a.2.6


Buckle No 50tt
Parts of a gold buckle in elaborate design.
Background scarlet: applied details soldered on yellow
Also two narrow strips of gold ornamentation from one of the chariots. Found in box 50. Scarlet on both sides. Distribution of scarlet. Face Background scarlet - applied work yellow. Back. Scarlet irregular

Buckle No 44a
Parts (4) of a gold buckle in elaborate design.

The gilt surface of these is in parts yellow, in parts reddish brown and in parts a dull scarlet or plum colour.

TAA i.2.12a.2.6 verso

The gold on which the scarlet occurs is always very yellow and bright and never tarnished. This may indicate a purer gold.

That different qualities of gold were used is indicated by the grey appearance of some which is almost certainly due to silver chloride

Coatings on Gold (Rathgen)
Silver Chloride formed by action of NaCl upon the Ag present. Removed by NH3 or alternate use of HCl + NH3 Red coating. Fe2O3. Due to extraneous deposits fixed by the AgCl. Removed by warming in HCl

(Rose) The surface colour of small particles of native gold is often apparently reddened by being coated with translucent films of oxides of iron.

TAA i.2.12a.2.7


Nature of Scarlet Colour

The colour is very easily rubbed off

The colour is insoluble in

The colour is soluble in
Hydrochloric acid (to a yellowish solution)
Repeated Agreed

The reddish brown colour is also insoluble in organic solvents but is soluble in HCl, forming a yellow solution.
Repeated - colour only partly sol. in HCl.

TAA i.2.12a.2.7 verso

South wall of ante-chamber
Largely pink but small irregular patches of brilliant scarlet
East wall of ante-chamber
A few small patches of brilliant scarlet
Much pink

<> N wall Pink Pink Pink Grey
S wall Pink
Entrance Side Pink Door Pink Pink

After N wall taken down the pink was seen to end abruptly at wall + not continued beyond outer face

Stone on S. wall scarlet in places where veins of calcite.

TAA i.2.12a.2.8


Pink Colour on Walls of Tomb.

In the ante-chamber it is very noticeable that the walls and floor in part are coloured pink. On closer examination it is seen that the pink colour is most marked where there is plaster on the stones. Thus the false wall at the north end in which is the doorway leading to the sepulchral hall is everywhere pink, the cement-like material on the doorway being in great contrast. Generally the limestone of the walls is not pink (except on the irregularities left by the mason and in the edges of any cracks) but a few loose stones lying inside near the doorway are very pink on the exposed sides but white on the fourth side. The limestone of the floor is also pink in places.
There are small brown spots apparently due to fungus growths scattered irregularly over those parts of the walls that are free from plaster and to a less extent on the ceiling. The walls of the sepulchral hall are extensively marked with similar spots.

TAA i.2.12a.2.9


White Coating.

On some of the objects there is a white coating suggestive of paint which is not ordinary dust and which is frequently just thick enough to flake off when brushed.
This coating was found on the papyrus portion only of sandals 21a + b. Also on reed arrows 50yy. Also on wood i.e. ebony portions of stool 83, red wood of stools 81 + 67 ebony of stools 139 + 140 and wood of box 107y (white particularly marked on stool No 81 and on boxes Nos 79, 43 + 56), ebony of box No 54, red wood + ebony of box 43, red wood + ebony of box 56

? Ingrained limestone dust.

On the hard red wood the white film was readily removed by damp sponge: on ebony only partly removed.

TAA i.2.12a.2.9 verso

Lapis Lazuli
Small sphinx
Large barrel shaped pendant
Lucas says about 6 cm long with one paw broken GB.

Bright ruby red Throne (figures of King + queen): ring
Dull red Amulet small disc beads

Dark blue Throne (head dresses of King + queen)
Inlay on Throne + on box 44
Part of amulet
Large cylindrical beads (Heq sign)
- do - (Necklace with snake goddess)
Small disc beads
Light Blue Inlay on Throne - do -
Green Small disc beads
Inlay on Throne + on Box 44

Yellow Small disc beads

White Small disc beads
Black + White Semi circular piece: alternate bands of black + white - register between very poor; hole through
From floor rubbish. Part of ear ring?

TAA i.2.12a.2.10


Brown Material

Patches of brown-coloured granular earthy looking matter (colour suggestive of Fe2O3) on many objects in irregular patches i.e. on
Sistrum 76 (one side only) Not on Sistrum 75
Stool 78
Bed 80 - very plentiful
Standard from Shrine 38 - particularly on head of snake.
? Fungus
Reddish-brown spots + patches on gold of statues 22 + 29 + frequently at sides of cracks. These frothed + smelled of glue when wet + generally could be removed with warm water though sometimes resistant. Rather suggestive of fungoid growth + could be fungus on glue but on whole probably Paint not fungus but glue from gesso or from that sticking on the gold.
Softens + rubs off when damp.
a. White. Stool No 78
b. Blue. Writing Boards 21ww + 21xx
c Red. Under side of Footstool No 90
d. Yellow + Red. Footstool 30 (gesso figures of captives)
e White, yellow, red. Mannikin No 116
f White Box 101
g Yellow Box 32 (inscription)
h Yellow Box 115

TAA i.2.12a.2.10 verso

Carnelian. Large cylindrical beads (Snake goddess necklace)
Small beads

Green Felspar Large cylindrical beads (Snake goddess necklace)

Faience Beads. Small (about double the diameter of the usual small disc-beads) very flat on Collar 101p

TAA i.2.12a.2.11


Miscellaneous Notes

To remove dust from gesso gilt or painted benzine + soft brush much better than water. Water tends to enter cracks + to split gesso more. Same with inlay of stones, glass or glaze.

TAA i.2.12a.2.11 verso

Gold - Thickness of
Measured various loose pieces
Thin leaf - 0.04mm (2 lots)
0.06 (3 lots)
0.09 (2 lots)
0.54 (from chariot)
0.02 (2 lots)

TAA i.2.12a.2.12


16 steps = 4 metres approx
Sloping passage = 2 " "
Floor of tomb = ¼ " " below end of passage
Total 6 ¼ ms approx below floor of valley
Floor of annex = 1 ¼ approx. below floor of first chamber.
Roof of tomb = 3 ms approx below face of cliff in parts.
Entrance hidden under débris of Rameses VI's tomb above.

Plaster + Mortar - water used with
Workmen - sweaty men + damp clothes
Organic Materials - moisture in

TAA i.2.12a.2.13


(a) Rings 53b
On lid of Box 54 there was a thin roll of cloth on which were strung 13 glazed faience rings + 2 metal (? silver) rings. The cloth was hard + was incrusted with a crystalline deposit of NaCl. Tested part of broken ring (blue). NaCl present. No alkalinity to Phenolphthalein
(b) Necklace 53a.
Also on lid of Box 54.
A crystalline incrustation + a brown deposit were present on many of the pendants. The incrustation was NaCl + the brown apparently Fe2O3.
Two large crystals of NaCl picked out from the pendants - one a cube 7 x 7 x 7 mms + other about half this size.
Box lid about 39cms from floor - no NaCl on lid.
Some of the pendants were well glazed + others had little or no glaze.

TAA i.2.12a.2.13 verso

All libation vessels blue. One markedly in much better condition than rest (16 altogether)
Also 7 blue vases - cup shaped
3 are slightly different in size + are in very good condition + better than the other 4

2 small cups now largely green but slight patches of blue in places. These have possibly been blue originally

Kohl pot green + blue - probably green originally
Large vase greenish blue - do -
Both these show slight iridescence

TAA i.2.12a.2.14


Faience (Contd)
(c) Libation Vessels, Cups etc. (54---)
All show corrosion in form of whitish coating on surface; small portions of surface peeling off: surface cracks in places:
Tested one (54ll) NaCl present - not strong
Alkalinity to phenolphthalein Nil
Cu3 Nil
Greater part of white coating is insoluble in water + in con HCl. (In one case boiled lid with strong Na2Cu3 solution - result negative)
In several cases where there is a crack the edges of this show a special white efflorescence. This is alkaline to litmus + contains NaCl + SO3

(d) Broken Faience Ring (Blue) from Floor
An incrustation present. This gave a test for Cl.

(e) Necklace 21u
Generally well glazed but some few pieces showed efflorescence + corrosion (chiefly red + blue) NaCl present No alkalinity to phenolphthalein

TAA i.2.12a.2.15


Libation Vase 69
Almost entirely covered with white crystalline deposit
Surface cracked. In many places the blue colour has changed to greenish.
Largely insoluble in HCl
Trace CO2
Little Cl

TAA i.2.12a.2.16



Square square folded piece
Surface slightly corroded: on one side the remains of a red colour.

Back to Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an Excavation