The Restoration of Mummies in Ancient Egypt

Document Type : Original Article


1 National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, 17611 Cairo, Egypt

2 Conservation Department, Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University, 12613 Giza, Egypt


The human deterioration factor plays a major role in the mummies' deterioration, and it is no less important than other deterioration factors, whether in the burial environment or the exposure environment in museums or stores. Looting is considered one of the most serious human deterioration factors, which led to the destruction of some mummies during the different periods in ancient Egypt. This study aims to explain the impact of human deterioration on mummies, describe its aspects of deterioration, and present the ancient Egyptian restoration and conservation techniques and materials used through different periods. The ancient Egyptians used different methods in restoring mummies, especially in the reassembling process of separated or broken parts. Examples of reassembling methods used were wooden splints such as palm wood splints, palm bark, reed sticks, fibres from palm trees, and wooden pegs. The resin technique and linen with resins were also used. The materials used in the restoration process were resins and oils such as mastic, myrrh, and beeswax. Different plant fibers such as wood, linen, palm fibres, reed, etc. The metal "iron" was also used in this process. This study showed that the ancient Egyptians are considered the pioneers of restoration in the world, and they preceded others in this field. It was also found that most of the materials used in the restoration are resistant to microorganisms and insects, and improve the mechanical properties of mummies.


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