The multidisciplinary and multi‐technical study of the coffin lid of Neskhonsuennekhy (Turin, Museo Egizio, inventory number S.05245) datable to the 26th dynasty (664–525 BC) was launched in 2015 at the Centro Conservazione e Restauro La Venaria Reale during the conservation activities required by the Museo Egizio, as part of wider research on the so‐called red coffins. Widespread abrasions and gaps in the pictorial stratigraphy strongly impeded the reading of the decoration, and a reddish and locally blackened material was covering many areas. Integrating multispectral imaging (UV fluorescence, VIL, IR reflectography), MA‐XRF, radiography, and analyses on micro‐samplings (OM, SEM‐EDX, FT‐IR) allowed deepening the state of preservation, detecting previous intervention, and characterizing the blackened surface, necessary to define the cleaning intervention objectives. In particular, the IR reflectography allowed recovering the readability of the beautiful drawings and the ancient hieroglyphs hidden beneath the reddish blackened surface. Based on the analytical data and compatibility with the pigments known in ancient Egypt, it was possible to return to the public the original lost decoration with a descriptive and virtual reconstruction. The new LANDIS‐X scanning station equipped with a real‐time macro XRF was fundamental for studying pigments, glazes, and mixtures besides the presence of lead impurities in the copper source used to make the Egyptian blue pigment, encouraging the research on the sources of mineral supply. Finally, this study allowed understanding the technique of execution of the find, from the assembly of the wooden elements to the reddish finish, noticing analogies with the other red coffins.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.