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Progress of the work: February 2005 


Work on clearing the old cases out of the galleries continues. The first stage of this work is simply to allow access to parts where there is some old asbestos which will need to be removed.

Old cases piled up in the centre of the Greg gallery

Old cases piled up in the centre of the Greg gallery

As the cases are removed, the walls reveal the remains of old paintwork from successive redecoration. The profile of the cases is really well preserved in the changes of colour. It's rather like the looking at the section of an archaeological trench.


Old pipework in the corner of the galleryBehind the cases are the old pipes and it is possible to see how the tops of the walls had been built out above the old cases, so that they seemed to be recessed into the walls of the room. 

Once the asbestos has gone, the work of preparing the galleries for the new cases can really get underway. 

Work on the storing the objects in the basement is continuing apace. Now that most of the collection is in storage we have the time to sort objects into their proper places. Although it is quite time-consuming work, it is very satisfying to see the objects laid out properly and, more importantly, it makes retrieving them much easier. The Antiquities Department is very fortunate to be supported by student volunteers, like Naoise MacSweeney who has been helping Lucilla Burn with the collection of pottery fragments found at Naukratis

The drawers in which the objects are stored, as well as the shelves in the cupboards, are lined with a special material (closed cell cross-linked polyethylene foam). It helps to pad the shelves and its surface is quite good at holding the objects in place. The sheets of foam are very large when they arrive and have to be cut to fit the drawers. 

Volunteer placing pottery in drawersVolunteer trimming material for padding pottery in drawers

The coffins which were being stored for us within in the Applied Arts department can now begin to be moved down to our basement, where the temperature and humidity are being kept stable by special new equipment. Each coffin has been placed on a board which makes it much easier to move about and carry. 

The pictures show (left) the cartonnage case of Nakhtefmut being lifted down on to a trolley, (below left) the lid of Nespawershefi's inner coffin being carried to the rolling shelves in the basement and (below right) the lid of the coffin of Userhet on its shelf. 

 Now that they are in the basement, the next part of the project can begin. You can find out more in March's progress report

The cartonnage case of Nakhtefmut being lifted on to a trolley The inner coffin lid of Nesparwershefi being moved to shelves The coffin of Userhet in position in the basement