Richly Decorated Sarcophagus from an Ancient Dynasty

EKTA 21660 (6x7CM)

Inventory Number: D 2067

This coffin is currently divided into six pieces. The lid and bottom are detached from the two sides, and some smaller fragments exist. The restoration and study of this coffin began in 2008 by the Department of Egyptian Antiquities and the Near East in collaboration with the Diagnostic Laboratory for Conservation and Restoration of the Vatican Museums. The restoration is part of the Vatican Coffin Project, which is set up for the study of the construction and painting techniques of the Egyptian polychrome coffins. In this intervention, restorers will further study the construction and painting techniques used in the coffin’s construction. They will identify the type of wood used, in order to compare the findings with those of the Vatican Coffin Project. Where possible, the labs will use morphometric investigations to reassemble the different elements of the coffin and reconstruct the missing parts.
The rich decoration of the lid allows us to date the sarcophagus coffin to the XXVI Dynasty. This period was a time of great splendor following a long stretch of crisis that marred the beginning of the first millennium BC. The sumptuousness of the lid offers investigators the opportunity to delve into the history of this period alongside performing the restoration. Among the most significant scene of the so-called “Book of the Dead,” is a funeral ritual frequently seen in the Valley of the Kings and that guaranteed the regeneration of the deceased every day along- side the sun god Ra.