Tomb of Menna in the Theban Necropolis

The Tomb of Menna (TT69) is one of the most visited and best preserved of the small 18th Dynasty elite tombs in the Theban necropolis, yet it was previously never systematically recorded or fully documented. Constant visitation over a long period and deteriorating environmental conditions had taken their toll on the painted interior.

The Tomb of Menna Project, led by Melinda Hartwig from Georgia State University (an ARCE research supporting member) began in 2006 with a feasibility study recording the existing conditions in the tomb chapel. This led to an action plan for documentation, conservation, protection, and publication of the chapel. From 2007-2009, four major phases were undertaken. In the first phase, the tomb and its environs were surveyed to create the first exact plan of the chapel and its surroundings. The second phase joined high-resolution digital images with an extensive net of measured points taken inside of the tomb to create an exact plan of the mural and ceiling decoration. Archaeometry, including XRF, RAMAN spectrometry, and colorimetry, was done in the third phase to aid conservators and art historians in their analysis of the tomb. These state-of-the-art portable techniques non-invasively documented the physical and chemical properties of the painting and its substrate. Conservation comprised the fourth phase, and included stabilization, intervention, and the final presentation of the painted wall decoration. The tomb was given a new wooden floor and rail system, LED lighting and a bilingual information panel in Arabic and English.

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