Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Tomb of Nefertari project records
Date (inclusive): 1984-1996, 2005, undated
Getty Conservation Institute
29.6 Linear Feet
(24 boxes, including 19 videocassettes, plus 36 flat files)
The Getty Research Institute
Institutional Records and Archives
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles 90049-1688
The Tomb of Nefertari project records date from 1984 to 1996, 2005, and undated and consist of files from the Getty Conservation
Institute's (GCI) collaboration with the Egyptian Antiquities Organization (EAO), renamed the Supreme Council of Antiquities
in 1994, to conserve the wall paintings in the tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens, in Luxor, Egypt. Records document
project planning, condition assessments, scientific analyses, conservation treatment, environmental monitoring, graphic documentation,
site protection planning, and conservation training. The collection also contains press clippings and files relating to the
GCI's efforts to disseminate information about the project through publications, videos, exhibitions, public presentations,
press conferences, and press releases. There is also an internal GCI report evaluating the project in 2005.
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Language: Collection material is in Records are primarily in English with some materials in Arabic, Italian, French, and Spanish.
The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) is an operating program of the J. Paul Getty Trust, a not-for-profit cultural and philanthropic
organization dedicated to the visual arts. Established in 1985, the GCI's mission is to advance conservation practice in the
visual arts, broadly interpreted to include objects, collections, architecture, and cultural heritage sites. Working internationally,
it serves the conservation community through scientific research, education and training, model field projects, and the broad
dissemination of the results of both its own work and the work of others in the field. In all its endeavors, the GCI focuses
on the creation and dissemination of knowledge that will benefit the professionals and organizations responsible for the conservation
of the world's cultural heritage.
Through field projects, the GCI works to advance conservation practice worldwide on a range of heritage places including buildings,
archaeological sites, and urban environments, and to address problems of regional or international relevance. The field projects
that the GCI develops and implements incorporate strong research, planning, and educational objectives. While field projects
vary in emphasis, complexity, and scope, all are multidisciplinary and involve working with local partners to build knowledge,
skills, and experience and to ensure sustainability. Projects also adhere to a consistent methodology which includes documentation
and recording, diagnostic research and assessment, the development and testing of conservation treatments and strategies,
implementation, and, finally, dissemination and training. Field project teams consist of the GCI (and sometimes other Getty)
staff, representatives of partner organizations, and external consultants. Team members come from a variety of disciplines
and include archaeologists, conservators, curators, engineers, architects, art historians, biologists, geologists, chemists,
city planners, surveyors, museum administrators, and site managers.
The GCI embarked on its first field project in 1986, collaborating with the Egyptian Antiquities Organization (EAO), renamed
in 1994 the Supreme Council of Antiquities, to conserve the wall paintings in the 3,200 year-old tomb of Queen Nefertari,
located in the Valley of the Queens near Luxor, Egypt. Among the most important examples of pharaonic art, the wall paintings
had suffered considerable paint loss over the years and were in a fragile state. Ancient artisans had applied layers of plaster
to the fractured limestone walls of the tomb to create a suitable surface for painting. Centuries of humidity fluctuations
within the tomb had caused salt from the limestone and plaster to crystalize, which in turn caused entire sheets of plaster
to detach from the wall and paint to erode from plaster surfaces. By 1986, approximately 25% of the paintings had been lost.
To prevent further deterioration and treat existing damage, the GCI and EAO formed a multidisciplinary, international group
of experts to work on an intensive six-year campaign that was conducted over three phases. The conservation team was led by
Italian conservators Paolo and Laura Mora, while Spanish conservator Eduardo Porta served as field coordinator for the project.
Work included condition assessments, scientific analyses, emergency treatment, conservation of the wall paintings, and training
of conservators from Egypt and other countries. The first phase (June 1986-November 1987) of the campaign focused on condition
assessments and researching treatment strategies. Emergency treatment was also applied to areas of wall paintings in danger
of imminent collapse. The second phase (November 1987-December 1988) focused on full-scale conservation treatments to the
wall paintings, which was limited to consolidation and cleaning to maintain the site's historical integrity. Conservation
treatment of the wall paintings was completed and documented during Phase III (November 1989–April 1992). Due to EAO's interest
in opening the tomb to the public, Phase IV (April 1992-Spring 1997) was added to the project, extending the campaign to 11
years, to monitor and analyze the tomb's microenvironment and periodically inspect the condition of the wall paintings.
The GCI published results of the project in two monographs:
Wall Paintings of the Tomb of Nefertari: First Progress Report (1987) and
Art and Eternity: The Nefertari Wall Painting Conservation Project 1986-1992 (1993).
Public access to materials in the collection containing sensitive information is restricted. Sealed materials are closed to
both Getty staff and the public. The restriction dates, which range from 2031 to 2046, are noted within the finding aid.
The J. Paul Getty Trust reserves the right to restrict access to any records held by the Institutional Archives.
[Cite the item and series (as appropriate)], Tomb of Nefertari project records, Getty Conservation Institute. Institutional
Archives, Research Library, Getty Research Institute, Finding aid no. IA30008
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
The records described in this finding aid were transferred by the Getty Conservation Institute and form part of accessions
1994.IA.01, 2015.IA.09, 2015.IA.10, and 2017.IA.09.
Processing Information Note
The Tomb of Nefertari project records were fully processed by Lorain Wang in 2015 and 2016.
The following materials are offered as additional sources of information on the people, programs, and subjects covered by
the records. The listing is not exhaustive.
Communications Department Audio and Video Recordings, 1973-2004, J. Paul Getty Trust. Institutional Records and Archives,
Getty Research Institute, Finding aid no. IA30003.
Director Miguel Angel Corzo records, 1982-1999 (bulk 1990-1998), undated, J. Paul Getty Trust. Institutional
Records and Archives, Getty Research Institute, Finding aid no. IA30025. Majority closed until 2034.
Director Luis Monreal records, 1974-1991 (bulk 1985-1990), J. Paul Getty Trust. Institutional
Records and Archives, Getty Research Institute, Finding aid no. IA40021. Closed until 2027
Frank D. Preusser records, 1985-1996, J. Paul Getty Trust. Institutional Records and Archives, Getty Research Institute, Finding
aid no. IA30018. Closed until 2028.
Press clippings, 1954-2009, 2013-2015, J. Paul Getty Trust. Institutional Archives, Research Library, Getty Research Institute,
Finding aid no. IA30017. [The clippings in this collection regarding the Nefertari project most likely duplicate those in
the Tomb of Nefertari project records.]
Most of the photos related to the project are held in the Getty Conservation Institute's Visual Resources Library.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Tomb of Nefertari project records date from 1984 to 1996, 2005, and undated and consist of the Getty Conservation Institute's
(GCI) files from its collaboration with the Egyptian Antiquities Organization (EAO) to conserve the wall paintings in the
tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens, in Luxor, Egypt. Records in the collection were primarily maintained by the
following GCI staff (the positions they held at the time are listed): Luis Monreal, first director of the GCI; Miguel Angel
Corzo, initially a consultant, then director of Special Projects, and later second director of the GCI; Frank Preusser, initially
director of Scientific Research and later associate director for Programs and acting co-director of the GCI; Mahasti Afshar,
Program Research Coordinator; and Neville Agnew, Special Projects Director. The records cover all four phases of the project
and document project planning, condition assessment surveys, scientific analyses, conservation treatment, environmental monitoring,
graphic documentation, site protection planning, and conservation training. Files include signed copies of project agreements
for each phase, budgets, meeting notes and agenda, correspondence and memos, technical data, reports, logbooks, photographs,
condition surveys, and maps. A significant portion of the collection also documents national and international press coverage
of the Nefertari project and the GCI's efforts to disseminate information through publications, videos, exhibitions, public
presentations, press conferences, and press releases. These materials include correspondence and memos, drafts, exhibition
visitor surveys and statistics, exhibition texts and mockups, an exhibition catalog, press releases, press clippings, and
ephemera. The collection also contains an internal GCI report evaluating the Tomb of Nefertari project in 2005. In addition,
there are a few folders that pertain to two other GCI and EAO collaborations: developing oxygen-free display and storage cases
for the Royal Mummy Collection at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and an environmental monitoring study of the Great Sphinx at
the Giza Plateau.
Records are arranged into three series:
;Series I. Field campaigns, 1985-1996
;Series II. Project dissemination, 1984-1996
Series III. Project evaluation, 2005.
Subjects - Names
Nefertari, Queen, consort of Ramses II, King of Egypt
Subjects - Topics
Tombs -- Egypt
Architecture, Ancient -- Egypt
Painting -- Conservation and restoration
Great Sphinx (Egypt)
Archaeological sites -- Conservation and restoration
Mural painting and decoration -- Conservation and restoration -- Egypt -- Thebes (Extinct city)
Subjects - Places
Valley of the Queens (Egypt)
Genres and Forms of Material
Clippings (information artifacts)
J. Paul Getty Museum
Fondazione Memmo (Italy)
Hay'at al-Āthār al-Mişrīyah
Getty Conservation Institute
Majlis al-A'lá lil-Āthār (Egypt)
J. Paul Getty Trust. Public Affairs Department