Tracing Roman Luxor

February 4, 2009
7:00 pm, Breasted Hall

Michael Jones, Associate Director, American Research Center in Egypt, Cairo

Archaeologists and conservators are facing a critical issue in cultural heritage management: the sustainability of heritage and its display and presentation in the face of the inevitable changes constantly affecting the historic environment and its modern inhabitants. By focusing on the Luxor Temple, its rediscovery in the 19th century and transformation into a tourist venue, it becomes clear that modern Luxor owes much to the transformation of the temple into the core of a Roman legionary fortress during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian around the year 300 AD. In 2003, the American Research Center in Egypt, in collaboration with Chicago House, began an integrated project on the cleaning and conservation of the remaining murals painted in the Luxor Temple that decorate an imperial chamber at the heart of the 18th dynasty temple. Revealing the high quality of the paintings themselves, this project offered the chance to see them in the context of the political developments of the time. The latest results of this project will be included in the lecture which will also address the conservation issues now facing the newly cleaned paintings.

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