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

Season 1925-6

TAA i.2.12a.4.1



Season 1925-26

A. Lucas

TAA i.2.12a.4.1 verso

Second Coffin No 254


Cleaned with warm water + NH4O4

Repaired with paraffin wax: painted with hot wax.

The body was inlaid like the lid + the dark blue glass was similarly badly deteriorated.

whites badly deteriorated on surface: impossible to be certain of what compound, but probably CaCO3

Metal Tongues on Lid. Cleaned with ammonia + proved to be silver

TAA i.2.12a.4.2

Outermost Coffin No 253


Cleaned with warm water and NH4O4.

Repaired with celluloid cement.

Filled hollows in gesso with hot melted paraffin wax by means of a pipette

Painted with paraffin wax

Second Coffin No 254

Lid (Coloured cement under inlay)

Cleaned with warm water. (Face + hands with NH4O4)

Repaired in places with celluloid cement and in places with paraffin wax. Painted with hot wax.

G.R. 17/26

Thickness of some of the gold (a) 0.04 mm to 0.07mm.
(b) 0.03 mm to 0.07mm (c) 0.05 mm to 0.07 mm.
(c) 0.05 mm to 0.07 mm.
The lid was inlaid with coloured glass, two shades of blue - dark + light - and red. The light blue and the red glass were both in excellent condition, but the dark blue was badly deteriorated + in many instances had crumbled + swollen to a whitish powder. On analysis this powder gave no re-action for Cl or SO3 but was alkaline + contained a carbonate (soluble) and an insoluble residue.

G.R. 18/26

Several pieces of semi-transparent material with coloured design beneath

TAA i.2.12a.4.2 verso

Repeated Ether Extraction + after evaporating off ether extracted fatty matter with xylol. Xylol extract (fatty matter) solid when cold.

TAA i.2.12a.4.3


Third Coffin. No 255

1/26 2/26

Black pitch-like material (? from libation)

Acetone. Largely soluble. Solution dark brown + contained fatty matter; was sticky when nearly dry (? resin) After removing fatty matter with xylol, the residue was dry, brittle + resinous-looking.

Alcohol. Partly soluble. Solution dark brown.

Amyl Acetate. Very slight colour extracted.

Benzine. No colour extracted. (In spite of resemblance to wood pitch in smell the insolubility (except fatty matter) is against presence of wood pitch)

Ether. Very slight colour extracted: solution on evaporation left a liquid fatty matter, which was acid.

Xylol. No colour extracted: solution on evaporation left a liquid, white, fatty matter, which was acid

The black material was covered in parts with small white crystals suggestive of a fatty acid. This melted when hot.

The smell of the original material suggestive of wood pitch. The material burned with a smoky flame (melted + became resinous)

(The black material (? libation) on foot of outermost coffin No 253, appeared to be identical: it behaved the same with solvents but showed no white efflorescence)

TAA i.2.12a.4.3 verso

255 The rose colour readily rubbed off
256 - do -

Gold Bands on Flail + Crook belonging to Hands 256

Various colours of red and also green: some of the red was KMnO4 coloured but the colours looked like interference films.

Organic Purple Colour
Sometimes a purplish stain on gold that appeared to be organic + can only be removed by heating.

TAA i.2.12a.4.4


Gold - Colour of

Coffin 253 Generally very yellow: some discoloration on face.

Coffin 254 As for 253. Under side of Uraeus red (not rose)
Greyish-green powder on face.
Coffin 255 Very yellow. Vulture's head red (not rose): greyish-green powder on foot + in places inside. Some gold beads of necklaces rose red.

Mask 256 Very yellow. Some gold beads of necklaces rose red.

Coffin 255 (Contd) In addition to vulture's head, the gold in other places on the upper part of figure, (but not at foot), as on beard + in patches on face + at side of breast, was very red (not rose)

Jewellery in coffin (RRR) Bib-like collarette on chest. Gold tubular beads with granulated work: on some the gold outside except the granules was rose, while in others it was very yellow: (insides not examined, except in one case when the gold was rose)
Later 4 others were examined - these yellow inside.
Also in debris in coffin alongside the beads were a few gold sequins (small) like those found on one of the robes. These yellow outside but all rose inside.

TAA i.2.12a.4.5

Metal Pins fastening Lids to Coffins

253. Looked very like copper or bronze: and were very dark-coloured on the outside. On examination (after cleaning) proved to be of silver with gold beads soldered on. Both the gold + silver contains copper.

254 Like 253

255 Gold.

253. 254. 255 NH4OH + hot water.

TAA i.2.12a.4.6


Mask 256

Beard is of inlaid dark blue glass which has become light-greyish. Under side gold.
Cleaned glass with warm water + gold with NH4OH + water
Face on Lid 255
Eyes badly deteriorated - whites look like some form of CaCO3: pupils are obsidian: the whites came entirely to powder when touched.

TAA i.2.12a.4.6 verso

A number of pieces of inlay were of semi-transparent material (that looked like glass) with a coloured cement (red) underneath. In one case where it was possible to examine this; it was not glass but a natural stone. It did not scratch with a knife blade and scratched glass + therefore was transparent quartz.

Mask 256
Collars (Three rows)

Practically identical with those on 255.
Cleaned in similar manner.
A few of the rose-coloured beads had patches of black resinous material. This chipped off with a knife + finished cleaning in flame of spirit lamp. Immediately on placing in water and also in acetone the red colour began to become lighter + yellowish and to disappear but it seemed to darken again + turn more red again on heating.
The dark blue glass inlay in one of the end pieces was badly deteriorated - in some cases it had gone to a whitish powder + in other cases it retained its shape but was white + friable: the light greenish-blue glass was in good condition.

TAA i.2.12a.4.7


Coffin 255
H. Carter + H. Burton removed the greater part of the black material, chiefly by mechanical means (chipping). Removed remainder with penknife and afterwards with a rag soaked in acetone.
Cleaned gold with NH4OH.
On rebated edge in places there was a brown resin suggesting that this had been used as a lute to help to fasten coffin + lid and to make the joint airtight.
Washed with warm water + NH4OH.
(A piece of stick removes the reddish discolouration from the gold without injury - stick wetted from time to time: this also cleans the surface of the inlay)

Collars. (Two rows)
Composed of large flat disc-shaped beads of gold and faience. Some of the gold beads were a rose-colour: these occurred at regular intervals in both necklaces and there were always two rose-coloured beads together.
Cleaned: Rose-coloured beads with soft brush: faience with warm water (dark-blue coloured faience of which a thin surface coating was peeling off). Cleaned gold which was of a light grey colour suggesting silver with NH4OH + warm water. In most cases came very yellow, but in a few instances some discoloration remained: most of these latter came clean when heated to dull red in a spirit lamp: in a few cases the colour became darker (there seemed to be much copper in there) but with HlO3 followed by water, NH4OH + water again they came fairly yellow.
Ends were inlaid: thus cleaned with NH4OH + water

TAA i.2.12a.4.8


Flail No 255.

The handle of the flail was badly disintegrated, the covering material being broken off and the bronze (or copper) core being bare.


The broken material was found to be glass which on the surface had lost its original dark-blue colour and had become grey, though the interior was still dark blue.
The breaking of the glass had possibly been due to the corrosion and expansion of the metal core: the broken pieces were with few exceptions in large pieces and were fairly solid, though there was some disintegration.
On some of the pieces of glass there were solidified globules of brown resinous-looking material, almost certainly resin.

Cleaned flail with NH4OH + warm water.
Some of the threaded, truncated cone shaped stones were carnelian, some were of turquoise-blue glass in good condition + some were almost in powder + had probably been dark blue glass. Repaired one with celluloid cement.

TAA i.2.12a.4.8 verso

A small aggregate of crystals from inside coffin at upper end also consisted of NaCl.

G.R. 19/26

TAA i.2.12a.4.9


Mummy 256

Inside of abdomen packed with resinous material + doubled up fabric making the whole a hard, solid mass.

Flesh blackened and very brittle.

Bones blackened.

Bandages for most part blackened and powdery: in some few instances brown (dark) + fragile.

G.R. 19/26

Outside of skin from top of shoulders showed whitish spots looking very like an eruption.
The whitish material was crystalline + consisted largely of NaCl but contained some Na3SO4

GR 20/26

4 Q. Specimen of material from underneath diadem on head attaching vulture's head to serpent's head. This was brown + somewhat resembled beeswax (ancient + dry) in places but proved to be resin. It was slightly resinous looking in places, melted with heat, did not give a greasy stain on paper, insoluble in benzine but soluble in alcohol. No inorganic matter present (i.e. no admixture of whiting)

GR 21/26

From just below the nostrils (? plug). Black, porous material of light weight. This proved to be decayed woven fabric held together by a little resin

GR 22/26

Tiny specks of reddish material from right eye. With a lens this looked very resinous: it was too small for a complete examination but was probably resin.
Apparently only partly soluble in acetone + in alcohol.

TAA i.2.12a.4.10

Circlets JJ (from Mummy)

(a) 2 Blue glass + gold
(b) 2 Gold + inlay.

Gold cleaned with NH4OH + warm water
Glass inlay cleaned with warm water.

Dipped in hot melted paraffin wax (H.C.)

Circlets U. V. and W

(c) U was a duplicate of one of the JJ group
(d) V " " " " another " " " "
(e) W was glass + carnelian + gold

All cleaned as for JJ.

Circlet cc

(f) Duplicate of W. (glass, carnelian + gold)

In all 4 pairs

In several cases a little paraffin wax (from waxing beadwork adjoining) was removed with petroleum spirit.

A little fatty matter in some cases was removed with acetone

Repaired where necessary (i.e. b.c.d + f) by H.C. with glue + afterwards dipped in melted paraffin wax.

TAA i.2.12a.4.11


Finger Rings

ff (5 rings)

1 Green chalcedony
1 Lapis lazuli
1 Chalcedony scarab in gold mount.
1 Gold mount, lapis scarab, inlay (Repaired by HC with glue + waxed)
1 Gold with inlaid uraei - thin + poor (Dipped in melted paraffin wax)

Grease removed with acetone
Cleaned with warm water + gold with warm water + ammonia

VV (8 rings)

1 Resin
2 Solid gold
1 Gold foil on ? wood
1 Black resin
4 Scarabs in gold mounts
1 Turquoise with dark brownish red patches
1 Lapis lazuli
(a) 1 Quartz - slight green tint
x 1 Lapis (see below)
Resin cleaned with warm water only
Gold cleaned with warm water + ammonia

x Lapis now in 5 pieces (originally in 3) + is hollow (i.e. a shell) + is filled with a whitish material which has expanded + split the lapis: gold pins fixed in with a reddish resin.
This was repaired by HC + treated with vaseline

(a) Two more (larger) scarabs of this material (qq). Can just be possibly scratched with a knife. Opaque: slight fairly uniform green tint: certainly natural stone:

TAA i.2.12a.4.12


Vulture Head J (Gold with eyes of obsidian)

Cleaned with NH4OH + warm water
Eyes replaced by HC with glue.
Dagger K

Tested small amount of scrapings from corroded spots on surface of blade.
The material of blade was a silvery-grey (like zinc in colour or wrought iron): it was spotted with corrosion looking like rust.

GR 23/26

The material from corrosion dissolved in HCl is a yellow solution which gave a blue colour with potassium ferrocyanide + was therefore oxide (or hydrated oxide) of iron
Blade covered with vaseline by HC.
Bracelet N
Gold + glass inlay.
Cleaned with NH4OH + warm water.
Loose inlay re-fixed by H.C. with glue. Waxed.

Bracelets HH
(a) 1 Gold with barrel-shaped piece of lapis lazuli
(b) 1 " " " " " " poor quality carnelian that is it had some thin dark bands on one side.
(c) 1 Gold with large sacred eye (Eye was iron.)

(a) + (b) Cleaned with warm water + ammonia.
(c) Had several large patches of dark red corrosion looking like rust. This gave a yellow solution with HCl which gave a blue coloration with potassium ferrocyanide

GR 24/26

Cleaned with fine dust + caustic soda (hot)
Washed well + coated with vaseline.

TAA i.2.12a.4.13


Dagger DD

Sheath - gold with delicate inlay on one side.
Gold much discoloured.
Removed discoloration with nitric acid, after trying ammonia + also KCN without effect. Washed well: treated with ammonia + again washed.
Inlay cleaned with ammonia + warm water + a wooden tooth pick + gold of inlay with ammonia. Waxed.

Pectoral QQQ

Cleaned with warm water + gold with water and ammonia.
A large patch of silver chloride on lunar disc removed with .880 ammonia

Bracelets X and PP

Cleaned with warm water + gold with warm water + ammonia.
Gold of X poor quality with copper + would not come very bright. Potassium cyanide darkened it.

Repaired by HC with glue. Waxed.

TAA i.2.12a.4.14


Gold Amulets + Pectorals

T. Soap + water: ammonia: heating in flame of spirit lamp: KCN
KKK. - do -
GG. - do -

YYY Lapis lazuli + gold
4B, XXX, 4A
Green felspar + gold
ZZZ Carnelian + gold
Cleaned with ammonia + warm water.

KK Gold
HHH. Bluish green faience turning black in gold frame
FFF. Red Jasper
GGG Green Felspar in gold frame
Cleaned with ammonia + warm water

JJJ Gold
Snake III bis "
Cleaned with ammonia + warm water

TAA i.2.12a.4.15


Uraeus 4Q
Gold with Lapis + glass + stone (translucent) with red cement now decayed. The stone is fibrous calcite. Body + tail in sections: all plastered with beeswax to stick it in place on wrappings.
Cleaned with acetone (+CHCl3) + ammonia

Vulture 4R
Gold: plastered with beeswax as above.
Cleaned as above.

MMM also NNN also Z
Large inlaid bird in sections.
Dark blue glass now quite decayed - no colour + much expansion.
Cleaned with ammonia + warm water (after acetone to dissolve fatty matter)

In a number of cases in MMM red glass inlay was covered with a green deposit + looked exactly like green inlay.
In Z the blue glass in part was in better condition.
4I bis
Gold: cleaned with ammonia + warm water
Also C (with tiny crystals of fatty acid) F. G. H. P. C. W. TT and M all gold + many with white deposit probably of fatty matter: cleaned with ammonia, heating, nitric acid + warm water.
Also LLL.

TAA i.2.12a.4.16


Coffin 255

White film on jewellery, both on gold + on inlay. (This is distinct from the cement or the glass of the inlay which in some instances has deteriorated)
No transparent stain when warmed on paper, i.e. not fatty matter.
No Cl
No SO3
Slight pp with AgNO3 soluble in HNO3: no effervescence noticeable with acid + no alkalinity (but possibly acidity) before adding AgNO3 or acid, hence not Na2CO3

On one piece of faience inlay (small pendent) a white efflorescence gave a positive test for Cl + a negative test for SO3

Mask 256
Inlay (a) Blue glass
(b) Whitish, waxy-looking translucent stone.

(b) This scratches glass
Surface undulated like that of some of the glass but undulations not uniform like those of the glass + the surface was scratched cross-wise, these scratches appearing to be the marks of working.

GR 25/20

Flail + Crook + Hands 256
Cleaned with ammonia + warm water.
Gold of hands + gold bands of flail + crook much stained reddish brown; this stain not removed by nitric acid or ammonia
Metal core of flail + crook is silver. (containing copper)

TAA i.2.12a.4.17


Strapping from Outside Mummy
Cleaned from black with acetone + afterwards further cleaned with NH4OH + warm water.
There was a considerable white efflorescence on the black which proved to be fatty matter + probably fatty acid. Inlay is lapis lazuli, green felspar, transparent quartz with a red backing and red + light blue glass.
Replaced loose pieces of inlay + cemented them in with Necol.
Cement is very suggestive of resin or resin plus another material
Gold Girdles

Burned off black: this caused some discoloration owing to copper in gold: treated with strong nitric acid to remove copper discoloration: washed: cleaned with NH4OH + warm water.

Gold Band (From head)

Cleaned with NH4OH + warm water.

Large Vulture from Top of Strapping

Cleaned as for strapping: a little of the red glass had lost or partially lost its colour as well as much of the dark blue glass.

TAA i.2.12a.4.18


Small Bird UUU + Gold Chain
Gold + inlay.
Cleaned with ammonia + warm water

TAA i.2.12a.4.19


Beads (4U + H.H.)
Gold. NH4OH. soap + warm water
Glass. Soap + warm water

TAA i.2.12a.4.20 Not scanned.

TAA i.2.12a.4.21


Gold Band for Forehead ? 4P
A considerable amount of brown resin attached.
Removed resin with acetone: cleaned gold with ammonia + warm water.

Inlaid Gold Apron J
Cleaned with ammonia + warm water: large (+ small) pieces of quartz inlay with red cement backing

Gold Chains 4D.
4. HC boiled with water.
Treated with HNO3: well washed.

Various 4E.
2 Small Heart-shaped amulets
2 " sitting birds (? doves)
2 " Buckles inlaid

Cleaned with ammonia + warm water.

R.R. Gold + stone (?) Ammonia + warm water. (stone has reticulated pattern)

Not stone, but crocodile or lizard skin
Glows slightly when heated

TAA i.2.12a.4.22



Two of each

I. Gold with glass inlay in large corrugated strips.
Cleaned with ammonia + warm water
A.A. - Ditto -

A green tubular bead of natural stone with green incrustation on surface which gave a blue colour with ammonia. Probably malachite

WW Stone (Like scarab SS etc) (Hard, but can be just scratched with a knife, greenish, veined in places

Lapis Lazuli
Many tubular beads perished
Rectangular pieces for flexible straps perished

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