research forum visiting conservator lecture



Challenges from Afar: A 20-year Overview of Some Getty Conservation Institute projects in China, Africa, and Egypt

Monday, 5 March 2012

18.00 - 19.00, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

painting on the north wall of Tutankhamen's burial chamber showing Osiris, lord of the underworld, embracing Tutankhamen, who is followed by his ka or spirit twin
Conservators using a portable, handheld microscope to examine and photograph the paintings on the burial chamber's west wall of the Tomb of Tutankhamen (detail). Photo: Robert Jensen. Courtesy the Getty Conservation Institute.


Speaker(s): Dr Neville Agnew (Principal Project Specialist, The Getty Conservation Institute)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Professor David Park and Sharon Cather

Over more than two decades, the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) has undertaken long-term collaborative projects with partner organizations in many parts of the world. Though often beset by problems of cultural and language difficulties, these have succeeded in the objectives, even while not achieving their full potential. Four projects will be presented in brief; the China Principles, (national guidelines for the conservation and management of heritage sites) and their application at the Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang; the Southern African Rock Art Project, conducted over the past six years at the World Heritage sites of Mapungubwe on the border of South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, and in the Clanwilliam Wilderness Area, South Africa; the conservation of the 3.6 million year-old Laetoli hominid trackway site in Tanzania; and aspects of the Institute’s project for the conservation of the tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt.


Neville Agnew joined the Getty Conservation Institute in 1988. He has a PhD in chemistry and worked in academia in South Africa and Australia prior to changing to heritage conservation in 1980. He has participated in many of the GCI’s research and international field projects and has led the initiative in China since 1989. Currently he leads the collaboration of the GCI with Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities for the Valley of the Queens and Tutankhamen’s tomb projects. He has authored many publications in chemistry and conservation and is a member of the editorial board of the journal Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, and for eight years was a board member of the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (a program of the U.S. National Park Service). Dr Agnew organized the conservation theme at the 5th World Archaeological Congress (WAC-5) and edited the subsequent publication. His association with conservation in China has resulted in a number of awards: The Friendship Award of the State Council in 2000; the International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award of the PRC in 2005; and awards from Gansu Province and the Dunhuang Academy. Dr Agnew is currently Senior Principal Project Specialist in the Field Projects department of the GCI.



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