Saturday, February 24, 2007

Photographs of an archaeological adventure

"Of all the cold cases in the art world thrillers, none beats the story of Tutankhamun's funerary chamber and the saga of the art treasures it held, recovered in what turned out to be the most important excavation ever relating to the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt.
Yet it took more than 80 years for the visual evidence to go on display under the title Discovering Tutankhamun: The Photographs of Harry Burton, first at the Oriental Institute Museum (at the University of Chicago) and now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until April 29. The book that comes with it, Tutankhamun's Tomb: The Thrill of Discovery should give food for thought to those who think that breaking up funerary caches to satisfy the appetites of commerce and of those for whom it caters is perfectly all right.
The photographs reveal a hidden aspect of the archaeological venture. The images show the finds as they were when first seen in their raw, unedited condition, immensely different from the polished appearance that the world famous treasures later acquired after cleaning and restoration."
See the above two-page article for the full story.

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