research forum visiting conservator seminar

A Future for the Valley of the Queens, Luxor?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

14.00 - 16.00, Research Forum South Room

the goddess Isis offers the ankh, the symbol of life, to Nefertari
Tomb of Nefertari, Queens Valley, Egypt. A detailed view of Pillar II in Chamber K (the burial chamber) before final treatment. Here the goddess Isis offers the ankh, the symbol of life, to Nefertari. Photo: Guillermo Aldana. Courtesy the Getty Conservation Institute.

Speaker(s): Dr Neville Agnew (Principal Project Specialist, Getty Conservation Institute) and Dr Martha Demas (Senior Project Specialist, Getty Conservation Institute)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Professor David Park and Sharon Cather

Of the hundred tombs in the Queens Valley, only a few—fewer than 10 perhaps—retain sufficiently preserved wall paintings to serve as tourist attractions. Robbery, reuse, flood, rock collapse since antiquity have all wreaked their havoc. Only the most beautiful tomb—that of Queen Nefertari—survived, and has been a magnet for visitors. Yet there is much that remains of significance and offers the possibility for interpretation. For some years The Getty Conservation Institute has been collaborating with the authorities to develop a comprehensive plan for the stabilization, protection, presentation, and management of the valley and its tombs. Planning is now complete and the project is poised on the cusp of implementation, as it has been for the past year, while upheaval roiled Egypt. The seminar will discuss the challenges of working on this complex archaeological site and the prospects for its future.

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.

Martha Demas received her PhD. in Aegean Archaeology from the University of Cincinnati in 1984. After several years engaged in archaeological excavation, research and publication on Late Bronze Age sites in Cyprus, she returned to the U.S. to pursue an MA in Historic Preservation at Cornell University, specializing in conservation of the archaeological heritage. Dr. Demas joined the GCI in 1990, where she is currently a Senior Project Specialist. She has worked in China since 1997 and has been involved in archaeological site conservation projects in Central America, Africa, the Middle East, and the United States. In 2010, Dr. Demas received the Friendship Award of the State Council of the PRC in acknowledgment of her work in China.

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