Restoration, Topography

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Apart from the buildings, walls and reliefs, other objects quite varied in size also surface in the course of the excavations. These may include: funerary objects as well as human and animal remains.

Since Egyptian legislation strictly forbids the removal of archaeological finds from the country, in order to facilitate their future processing, analysis and publication, it is necessary to carefully document the finds in situ. Thus, the objects can only be drawn and photographed following the registration of the site of discovery, as well as the cataloguing and cleaning procedures.

The pottery is classified and restored by Ragab Maray, a local conservation specialist, to a state as complete as possible. These larger reconstructed vessels and the smaller finds which sometimes emerge intact are then drawn in detail using millimetre paper, a calliper and a profiler in a manner that the exterior and the cross section of the objects shall be displayed on the right and left hand side of the same drawing respectively.

Ragab Maray
Zoltán Fábián has been introducing his students who attend his seminars on Ancient Art History at the University of Fine Arts, Budapest to the practice of drawing finds from photographs for years. As a result, the students become acquainted with the basics and the most widely used methods of drawing archaeological finds as well as the standard positioning of the various views and the importance and use of scaling. The significance of documentation by drawing in order to complement photographic records lies in eliminating the distortion of the effects of light. In addition, the drawings are often easier to handle and are more evocative in printed publications than, for example, black-and-white photographs. In contrast with traditional perspective drawings, the shadows are ignored on principle. In addition, there is an opportunity to highlight details unperceivable in a photograph yet visible to the naked eye, as, for example, faint traces of painting. On the other hand, it is also possible to tone down impurities or cracks impeding the transparency of the complete image. Such considerations have given rise to the idea to invite graphic artists on the site to give them direct access to the finds.

Drawing: Zsófia Bezerédi
Graphic artists have been participating on location on a continuous basis since 2007. During the course of these years a particular specialisation and job-sharing has evolved, whereby some artists prefer to work on ushabtis, others on wooden objects. Consequently, they have been able to select and develop the most appropriate drawing instruments and methods which they still continue perfecting. Zoltán Fábián allows relative freedom for experimentation, for example, he does not insist on the pointillist technique, thus his artists often work with aquarelle pencils or walnut stain, which are unusual in the field.

At the end of each season the findings are carefully wrapped and stored in the tomb TT184 which can be locked safely and is protected by armed guards until the beginning of the next season. However, prior to this, supervisors of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities inspect the finds, and occasionally order the transfer of the pieces they consider of greater value to the (even more secure) storage of the Luxor Museum. Since later we do not have access to these objects, their earliest possible graphic and photographic recording is of paramount importance.

Drawing: Zsuzsanna Köllő
However, it is even more urgent to document the remnants of various larger structures, such as buildings, edifices or monuments, or their surviving elements, such as walls, floors, stairs and the various layers of witness walls, which may come to light during the excavation. This is particularly crucial because some of them may be dismantled as the work progresses, or may even be demolished in the interest of the excavation of further hitherto concealed layers. Such efforts are made even more difficult by the extensive size of the surfaces to be drawn which, in contrast with the drawings of smaller objects represented in 1:1 proportion, also need to be reduced with the simultaneous display of the scaling applied.
Drawing: Marianna Fa
Following the completion of the excavation, we process the drawings: the drawings of the pottery pieces and features are transferred from the millimetre paper, while all of the drawings are numbered and then scanned and registered in the inventory. Sometimes the restorers may be able to amend an object already drawn with pieces that emerged later, which necessitates a new drawing. Thus, each find number and description can also be complemented by an image. This assists Egyptologists in their quest to examine the finds in their complexity and facilitates the preparation of articles and presentations.


Cleaning of the wall paintings in mudbrick chapel 'BBKF', 2009.

TT185 restaurálási munkájának felmérése, előkészítése 2011-ben.

A TT185 felmérése. Wéberné Jánossy Katalin
Külszíni felmérés. A fotón Wéberné Jánossy Katalin és az inspektor.