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 1929-30 or 1930-1

TAA i.2.12a.3.1


A. Lucas

Parts of Harness Nos 155, 158, 164, 167 (Saddles)
Knobs (one on each)
Two are calcium carbonate (crystalline limestone or calcite)
Two are calcium sulphate.
Cleaned from decayed leather with hot water.
Cleaned from decayed leather by hot water + then with ammonia + afterwards washed. Repaired with Necol cement.
Silver (lips + teeth of heads)
Cleaned with ammonia

Parts of Harness No 165, 169, 107 (2) (Saddles)
Knobs All four are calcium carbonate. cleaned as above
Gold Cleaned as above. Repaired with glue
Silver Nil

Gold Ornamentation of Harness
Chipped off decayed leather where it had become attached to surface: cleaned gold with Scrubb's Ammonia + afterwards washed with water

Goads (6) (Tried Duroprene on one with applied bark - caused buckling)
152a 152b 162c 62d
Cleaned with benzine: repaired with Necol cement + treated with celluloid in amyl acetate. 4 Applied bark: 2 gold (thin) on gesso (4) Treated with paraffin wax 152a + b
162 c + d

TAA i.2.12a.3.2


Strip of fabric with lines of blue paint from bottom edge of chariot.
Treated with celluloid in Acetone

Yokes of Chariot Nos 159, 166
Cleaned leather (remains of) with petroleum spirit
Cleaned gold with warm water + ammonia
Repaired with glue (much gold loose - also stone knobs)

Poles (for Chariots 120 + 122) 120b 122b
Cleaned wood with damp sponge
Cleaned leather (remains of) with petroleum spirit
Cleaned gold with ammonia
Repaired with glue.

Wheels (Parts only) Nos 131, 136 133, 134
Cleaned gold with ammonia - washed with water.
Repaired with glue. Waxed.

Skin from bottom of Chariot (? cheetah's skin)
Treated part with Duroprene (50 %)
Treated part with celluloid in acetone.

Imitation Fleece from Chariot.
Linen. Sprayed with celluloid in acetone.

TAA i.2.12a.3.3


Rosettes from ends of poles of chariots 120 + 122.
Captive figures from chariots 120 + 122 (120h 122h)
Axle pins from either 120 or 122

Goads (?) For chariots 120 + 122 (See first page)
Small portions of best hawk (See below)

Statue No 22
(Gesso under black in places but not entirely nor mainly chiefly at corners + curves: generally no gesso) This really is stopping.
Cleaned with warm water (sponge + soft brush) both gold + black.
Sprayed black with acetone. Fixed in several large loose pieces of gesso and black with glue. Filled blisters + hollows with paraffin wax. Eyebrow fixed in with Necol.

Hawks 157, 160

Axles 120a 122a
Cleaned with warm water + ammonia
Repaired with glue
Treated with hot paraffin wax

Bouquet 205
Sprayed repeatedly with celluloid in amyl acetate.

TAA i.2.12a.3.4


No 181
Funerary Object. Two miniature pylons with vase in between. Wood. Covered with gesso + black resin. Washed with water + soft brush. Sprayed with acetone. (Repaired with glue before spraying) Painted wood where bare with thick solution made from fallen particles dissolved in acetone

Bases of Couches Nos 35, 137 + 93
Washed with water.
Sprayed with acetone


Cleaned with water.
Sprayed with acetone Two loose pegs (Nos 190 + 192) refixed
Brushed over with thin coating of wax with celluloid cement to dull gloss on surface

Sticks + Bow Stick 204 has silver ferrule
No 212. Plain stick
Cleaned with water
No 215 - do -
No 213 Applied Bark Stick. Cleaned with water, sprayed with celluloid: waxed
No 214 (a) Applied Bark Stick. As for No 213
No 214 (b) - do - Cleaned with water: waxed.
No 222 Bow. Gilt Cleaned with water: waxed.
No 217 (a) Gilt Stick. Cleaned with ammonia + water. waxed
No 217 (b) Gilt Stick. Repaired Necol - do - "

TAA i.2.12a.3.5


Sticks Contd.
No 216 (a) Gilt Stick. Cleaned with ammonia + water. Waxed
" (b) - do - - do - - do -
No 218 Gilt. Mace. - do - - do -
No 219 Gilt Stick - do - - do -
No 221 Gilt Stick - do - - do -

Statue 29
Gold: Cleaned with ammonia + warm water
Black: Sprayed with acetone.
Blisters + hollows filled with paraffin wax
Fixed in loose pieces of stopping near left shoulder with glue. Eyebrow fixed in with Necol

Sticks. Nos 232 + 236.
Plain gesso gilt on wood: cleaned with ammonia + water: waxed
Mace No 233
Plain gesso gilt on wood: Cleaned with ammonia + water: waxed.

227b. Bark + beetles wings. Cleaned with Benzine. Sprayed repeatedly with Celluloid in Amyl Acetate. (Ivory at both end stained red)
227c - do - - do -
227d. Bark + gold at ends. Dusted + waxed ends.

TAA i.2.12a.3.6


Feb. 1925
176 Goose.
Wood covered with black resin.
Brushed off dust.
Cleaned base, which is solid, with damp sponge.
Cleaned goose, the surface of which is much broken, with pet. spirit.
Repaired with celluloid + also with Necol.
Sprayed with acetone.

No 241. Bow
Hard red wood: no decoration.
Cleaned with damp sponge

No 246 Bow
Plain red wood
Cleaned with damp sponge

No 244 Bow
Red wood with thin gold foil in middle + at ends.
Gold has become a dull plum colour
Wood much eaten by insects.
Cleaned with damp sponge: strengthened bowstring with Durosprene: re-fastened loose gold with glue.

TAA i.2.12a.3.7


Nos 243 + 248
Plain wood with slight decoration (rings of yellow paint)
Cleaned with damp sponge

Ostrich Feathers from Fan No 242
Remains only.
Sprayed the few better pieces with a very dilute solution of celluloid in amyl acetate.
(Experiments made last year 1923-4 - results now examined.
Duroprene - brittle: rigid.
Cellulose Acetate. Strengthened but slight white deposit in places (Sol. both weak + strong)
Celluloid in Amyl Acetate
Strengthened: best.

Nos 237 + 238
Cords with clay seals from shrines.
Soaked in celluloid solution - dilute

Alabaster Jar No 211 - Lid of (Lion)
Disfigured by reddish brown spots + patches (Some insect (?fly) marks)
These removed by water (not very readily)
Insol. in Pet. Spt. Alcohol. Acetone + zylol
Water solution frothed + was sticky
Alabaster attacked under (+ around) red marks as though by acid.
The smaller spots suggest fly or other insect marks

TAA i.2.12a.3.8


Lion ivory knob cemented on with reddish cement. This soluble in acetone and alcohol (? largely resin with red colouring matter) Contents of jar are fatty. (Burn with smoky flame, smells of burning fat, greasy spot on paper) Interior of mass smells of rancid coconut oil. Light brown colour. Mass slightly soft + fatty to the feel. Soaked vase in petroleum spirit. Paint (especially blue + green) possibly slightly loosened (? held in place by fatty material from jar + this dissolved by pet. spt.)
Blue paint when found was black on surface. Waxed. (HC)
The jar (thin) cracked in one phase from top to bottom
Lid with lion (thick) not cracked
Paint, especially blue + green, came partly off under wax treatment
Paint rubs off with water.

Vase No 210
Two figures (Nile gods) * Further testing indicates possibly a gum-resin not beeswax. Partly soluble in alcohol and acetone + partly in water.
Contains a hard orange-coloured mass, which has expanded + has split the vase in a number of places. The material is organic + contains a little fat or fatty acid. In appearance suggestive of beeswax. *
Voluminous light grey ash.
Petroleum spirit + alcohol dissolve a little white fatty matter. Acetone softens the material slightly. Water becomes slightly coloured (brown) + material seems rendered

TAA i.2.12a.3.9


more friable: Insect marks (? fly)
Cleaned gilt of uraei with Ammonia
Treated Ivory head-dress with celluloid to fix surface which was loose in places.
Cement (reddish) fixing together separate pieces is largely easily soluble in alcohol + also in acetone.
After many trials found best way of cleaning was first to treat with acetone + then with hot water.

Alabaster Lamp No 174 (Centre cup + two small side cups)
Fairly clean.
Washed with soap + warm water + tooth brush

Alabaster Lamp No 173 (Internal painting)
Reddish patches in places
Greasy. Also insect (? fly) marks.
Treated first with acetone then with warm water + soap
Much improved

Dad Sign 250 (Some small exudations of resin - ? from wood)
Wood - painted
Paint - Yellow (white before cleaning + partly so after cleaning owing to limestone dust) Blue (frit) Green (Not frit) and Red.
Cleaned with Petroleum Spirit
Repaired with celluloid cement + sprayed with celluloid in amyl acetate.

TAA i.2.12a.3.10


Kiosks No 193
Wood - black resin surface.
Between the two kiosks representation of feathers in stone (? slate) on an alabaster base.
Cleaned feathers + base with soap + warm water.
The application of water or petroleum spirit to resin caused it to decrepetate + fly off in small pieces.
Dusted with soft brush.
Sprayed with acetone.
In each kiosk was a pair of wide-mouthed beakers - Have probably been fastened together (i.e. each pair) one over the other as a cover.
Rptd a+b
The material is a very light coloured brownish powder slightly cohering into lumps + is a good quality natron containing a very small proportion of common salt and sulphate.
The material is a reddish-coloured resin.

(a) 193B
Very light brown finely divided powder loosely aggregated in lumps. Practically wholly soluble in water: soln. strongly alkaline Sol. efflorescence strongly with acid: contains tr. Cl + a little So3. Natron
(b) 193C
Reddish brown powder loosely aggregated in lumps: insol. in pet. spirit practically wholly sol. in alcohol. Resin Burns with smoky flame, when burning smells like burning varnish
(c) Cementing material on beakers - Black, resinous, partly sol. in acetone insol. in pet. spt. Resin similar to black varnish on wood

Necklace 172.
Faience beads: CaCO3 beads (i.e. calcite) Gold beads.
On faience a crystalline efflorescence: very sol. in water. soln. strongly alkaline: effervesces strongly with acid: contains a little Cl: no SO3
Sodium carbonate + small prop. NaCl
Gold Some pink, some yellow, some dark suggestive of electrum with Ag having been converted on surface into AgCl: some doubtful
Total 83. Pink 36: Yellow 10: Doubtful 14: Electrum (?)23
Possibly part of necklace missing

172 Contd Also resin beads, one <> and 8 + some parts smaller, round. Reddish, brittle. Treated with acetone + then amyl acetate (to remove whitish patches from action of acetone but not successful)

TAA i.2.12a.3.10 verso

Warm water
Slightly brown solution while warm slightly aromatic

TAA i.2.12a.3.11


Trumpet 175
Loose wooden support inside. This painted. Paint loose: Cleaned with pet. spt. Treated with celluloid in amyl acetate (strong)
Trumpet silver with gold border + gold mouthpiece. Cleaned (partly) with NH4OH + brush. Washed in water

Floor Rubbish
Hollow reed filled with black resinous-looking material. Diam. of material 1.5cms. (Length of Reed 30cms Ext. Diam 1.7cms)
Pet. Spt. Slightly yellowish soln. On evapn. fatty matter, white not solid (this possibly due to kerosine in benzine). Acid: greasy stain on paper.
Alcohol Brown soln: Like that with acetone. Similar residue on evaporation - resin + fatty matter.
Residue. Like that from acetone
Acetone Brown sol?
Yellow: translucent: soft: burns: aromatic: fatty Extracted with Pet. Spt. Final residue yellow powder Resinous; solution sticky: burns like resin & smells like burning varnish
Residue. Brown powder with remains of beetles: no charcoal: burns slightly: glows
Burns readily with luminous, smoky flame: smell like burning varnish.
Resin + fatty matter.
Again repeated Slight fatty matter.
(See WB 6/98)

175d. Black material on broken pottery dish.
Outer surface looks resinous. This only thin skin, under which is a mass of fine powdery material (excrement of insects?) and chitinous cases of a large number of small beetles + eggs
Also a piece of bare thin twig.
In flame black material glows but does not burn, smell

TAA i.2.12a.3.12


Insoluble in pet. spt, alcohol + acetone.
Partly soluble in water to dark brown solution, small suggestion of glue, froths
Evaporated Water Soln to dryness:
Residue after water. Brown powder, glows when heated, nitrogenous smell nothing distinctive.
Result. Chiefly insect remains + excrement
Slight whitish crystalline matter

Anubis Emblems 194 + 202
Wood covered with gesso + gilt: standing in alabaster blocks. Dusted with soft brush
Cleaned gilt with damp sponge.
Cleaned alabaster with soap, warm water + brush. Waxed.
(On top of alabaster dozens of small spots like insect marks.

Animals 137
Dusted with soft brush. Washed with damp sponge + dilute ammonia
Teeth cleaned with petroleum spirit
A few repairs made with celluloid cement.
Gold very yellow in parts. Large patches of dark plum colour. Small patches of pink colour - definitely pink

Bed 137 Centre of under side coated with black resin on gesso. The resin had contracted on Bed 73 in many places and large pieces of the gesso raised saucer-like. Spraying with acetone no use, fixed with wax.
Cleaned with damp sponge
Repaired with celluloid cement + also with wax BR> Waxed.

Bed 73. As Above

TAA i.2.12a.3.13


Sepulchral Chamber
All four walls are painted over entire surface but not the ceiling The paint is - white, black, red, green and the ground yellow. The green is a frit.
The entire surface of all the walls show myriads of irregular roundish shaped dark brown coloured spots having all the appearance of fungoid growths.
On the ceiling there are a few similar spots as also on the walls and ceiling of the ante-chamber. The spots are raised slightly above the surface of the wall. In a comparatively few cases there is a zone of lighter brown round the spots: in most cases the centre of the spot is darker than the circumference and in some instances is almost black.
With a strong light the spots show a mass of small crystalline-looking particles. These with a lens seem to be a film on the surface of the spots broken up into variously sized plates some of which are coloured only light brown and it seems to be the surfaces and particularly the edges of these plates that glitter + present the crystal-like appearance. The crystal-like particles are more numerous in the centre of the spots but are not absent from the edges.
Tiny whitish crystalline looking specks occur occasionally on the paint when there are no spots.

TAA i.2.12a.3.14


The appearance under a lens of the glistening particles (not the specks) is suggestive of dried gummy or gluey or resinous material and not of inorganic crystals

Large + Small Boulders from Entrance
Hard fossiliferous limestone not like that of tomb.

Tomb of Ramose
Considerable thick irregular crystalline deposit on walls particularly on lower part. The deposit as much as 1 cm thick in many cases. The crystals are hard and somewhat fibrous in appearance suggesting rock salt or fibrous gypsum. On testing they are entirely soluble in water and consist essentially of common salt with a trace of sulphate

Removal of Above
Water only solvent: hot water better than cold. Suggest cloths well wetted with hot water should be applied repeatedly to walls until deposit removed.
Upper part of deposit might be carefully removed with small chisel + hammer before application of cloths but no attempt should be made to remove the deposit
Not suggested to Mond

TAA i.2.12a.3.15


where adhering to the walls. The temptation to try and do this will be considerable, but damage to the wall surface will inevitably result. For this reason no native should be allowed to use the hammer + chisel.
Not suggested to Mond
Special precautions should be adopted to prevent water from soaking into the floor and also to put the minimum of water on the walls as both the floor if earthen and the stone of the walls contain a considerable amount of salt, that from the floor will enter the walls + that already on the walls will be driven in only to appear again on the surface when the stone dries and to appear possibly in a more dangerous form than at present namely as small crystals underneath the paint or surface layer of the stone which would be split off.
Floor rock covered by layer of earth. A.L.
If loose earth on floor this to be cleared out after wetting or if no loose earth this or sand might be put on floor + afterwards removed
A second cleaning may be found necessary a year or so after the first but the second time the salt will be in very much less amount not so hard and more easily removed.
Not to be forgotten that water will remove any paint.

In many places walls originally have been smoothed with plaster (i.e. irregularities filled with plaster) + carving + painting done on this. This might be made more adherent where loose with celluloid

TAA i.2.12a.3.16


Heq Men (Hqmn) 18th Dynasty
Mond's. New Tomb (1832 Inscription)
Paint black, blue, yellow, red, white
Defaced (especially faces of many of the painted figures) by patches of black material manifestly deliberately applied: In places this has run + (therefore) put on liquid or semi-liquid
20/2/25 Took tiny samples of black.
Burns with luminous + smoky flame: smell while burning suggestive of burning varnish.
Water - hot + cold - Nil
Pet Spt Nil Repeated Nil
Xylol (over night) Nil
Alcohol (over night) Slight
Acetone (over night) Fair
Water after alcohol + after Acetone - Nil
Amyl Acetate
NH4OH Slight colour extracted from black material after alcohol + acetone. The usual black resin from T.A.A.'s tomb reacts in the same way.
Black material not pitch or bitumen but is resinous. Acetone best solvent found but does not dissolve all. Propose trying further experiments + also trying acetone "in situ".
4/3/25 Tried acetone: fairly successful especially when joined with careful scraping of thicker layers as solvent softens the black.

TAA i.2.12a.3.17


Seti II
Where surface of walls not quite regular it has been smoothed with a light-brown coloured plaster. (Sample taken) Whole surface of wall afterwards coloured white. This white partly CaCO3 but contains fair proportion CaSO2

Copied from Note Book
17/2/23 Morning 10am.
(Sealed doorway of sepulchral chamber opened 16.2.23 afternoon)


NW corner
Shrine Took 6 swabs at x
1. Bottom of small black object (? Kiosks)
2. Bottom of wall
3. Bottom of shrine
4. Bottom of wall
5 + 6. Floor underrushes
Sent to Bact. Lab. R. N. Cordite Factory, Holton Heath

TAA i.2.12a.3.18


Sepulchral Chamber
Paint:- Yellow ground: white, black, red, green.

S. side near W. end - several small patches of fungoid growth (brown) along incised lines. Less on yellow paint in incised lines than just outside. Yellow possibly CH2S3.
Yellow paint in incision.
Figures painted in places i.e. necklaces + bracelets

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