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A conservation and technical investigation project accompanied the refurbishment of the Egyptian Galleries which began in 2004. It continued with additional objects for rotation into the displays and preparation for publication of the research.This work fed in to our 2016 exhibition Death on the Nile: Uncovering the afterlife of ancient Egypt.

Environmental and burial conditions in Egypt have ensured good preservation of even the most fragile and vulnerable materials used in antiquity, such as basketry, textiles and wood.

However, some damage and deterioration have inevitably occurred over time. Also, some early attempts at preservation and restoration used materials and techniques that have aged badly or have put additional strain on already fragile structures.

A good understanding of the deterioration processes, minimal interference with the original structures and the use of rigorously tested repair materials are central to conservation work today.