Scientific mission

Researchers from ULiège join the French Archaeological Mission of Thebes West

In Research

The French Archaeological Mission of Thebes West (MAFTO) has just called on the expertise of researchers from the European Center of Archaeometry (CEA) of ULiège by inviting them to participate in a multidisciplinary study carried out on funeral chapels recently discovered in the necropolis of Ancient Thebes, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Luxor. Their mission will consist of a series of physico-chemical analyses of the materials used in these chapels, using non-invasive methods.


ow did the painters of ancient Egypt work? It is to this vast question that the international and interdisciplinary research programme carried out within the framework of the French Archaeological Mission of Thebes West wishes to answer. The mission has just discovered about fifteen funeral chapels in the necropolis of Ancient Thebes, Luxor, Egypt. While they are supposed to date precisely to the reign of Ramses II (1300-1200 BC), this fact cannot always be demonstrated on the basis of the Egyptological approach alone. It is in this sense that the teams of LAMS - the Laboratory of Molecular and Structural Archaeology (Sorbonne Université) - and the CEA - the European Centre of Archaeometry (ULiège), in collaboration with the Centre for Studies and Documentation on Ancient Egypt, will carry out a series of analyses using a range of non-invasive chemical analysis and digitization techniques grouped in a mobile laboratory to determine the composition and the nature of the materials used in these monuments and their settings.

STRIVAY Ramasseum2

By means of techniques related to archaeometry, in particular physico-chemical analysis instruments using ultraviolet, visible, infrared and X-ray light, researchers will be able to identify the composition of the paint layer and the nature of the materials used to prepare walls and ceilings, and in this way understand the techniques and processes used by painters of the time. The researchers will also document the works using "gigapixel" photographs - which give an overall view of the scenes and offer the possibility of zooming in to the smallest details -, macrophotography and 3D capture of all the monuments studied by photogrammetry.

Present on the site for the next three weeks, researchers from LAMS and CEA propose to showcase their activities and discoveries every day on the Science et Avenir wesite (french).

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Catherine DEFEYT

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