A First Assessment of the Conservation of the Mummified Human Remains in the Museo Egizio in Turin in the Framework of the “Mummy Conservation Project”
Del Vesco P
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SubjectConservation; Cultural assets; Display cases; Fungi; Mummies; Oxygen-free atmosphere; Water activity
The Museo Egizio in Turin holds a unique collection of 116 mummified or skeletal human bodies or body parts. This collection is currently under study by the “Mummy Conservation Project”, a collaborative venture of the Museo Egizio, the Institute for Mummy Studies of Eurac Research, the Soprintendenza Archeologia del Piemonte, and the Horus Group, whose aim is to improve mummy conservation techniques. In the context of this project, an assessment of the state of preservation of the mummified human remains was carried out by monitoring basic physical parameters (temperature, relative humidity and water activity) and by performing a fungal survey. The latter revealed the presence on the mummified material of fungal spores and mycelia that could possibly pose a biodegradative threat. However, all the current physical parameters show that the mummies are stored under optimal environmental conditions, which will suppress any microbial up-growth.
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