Project Director: Michael Jones
Historic Era: Roman Period
Project Location: Luxor
Project duration: October 2005 – December 2008
Luxor Temple was one of the most important political and religious sites during Egypt’s Pharaonic period. During the Roman era, parts of the temple were converted into cult chapels and churches. This project was initiated to clean and conserve valuable Roman wall paintings at the Luxor Temple. The paintings adorn the late 3rd century AD Roman legionary shrine, from the reign of Diocletian, within the Luxor Temple. The murals were painted in fresco on lime plaster by a group of exceptionally skilled artists who were probably attached to Diocletian's imperial court.
Project Director Michael Jones and conservators Luigi De Cesaris and Alberto Sucato worked in collaboration with Chicago House and the Luxor office of the Ministry of Antiquities. Conservation work on the Roman wall paintings was carried out for three full seasons. The project highlighted and addressed two important issues: the tragic loss of much of the historically important Roman paintings since John Gardner Wilkinson documented them in the mid-19th century; and the dilemma of how to preserve the paintings in the future after the cleaning and conservation with an intrusive shelter without compromising the temple.
Statement of Responsibility:
Amenhotep III was responsible for constructing the greater part of the present Luxor Temple around 1400 BC. Under Diocletian, Emperor of Rome, 245-313 AD, the first Tetrarchy transformed the temple site, including one of the temple’s offering halls into what is now known as the imperial cult chamber. In the 2000s, the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), with the support of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (formerly the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities), conducted several site visits to Luxor to extensively document the grounds and undertake conversation efforts for the Roman frescoes present in that chamber.
Conservation of the monument was funded through the American Research Center in Egypt's Egyptian Antiquities Conservation Project (ARCE-EAC) United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Agreement No. 263-A-00-04-00018-00.
- Jones, M., & McFadden, S. Art of empire: The Roman frescoes and Imperial Cult Chamber in Luxor Temple.
Mahmoud, Hussein Marey, et al. “A Technical Characterization of Roman Plasters, Luxor Temple, Upper Egypt.” Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, vol. 12, no. 2, ser. 81-93, 2012, pp. 81–93. 81-93, maajournal.com. Accessed 19 July 2022.
- Marey Mahmoud, Hussein & Kantiranis, Nikolaos & Pavlidou, Eleni & Stratis, John. (2011). Scientific Characterization of Roman Age Over-Paintings at Luxor Temple, Upper Egypt: Preliminary Results. 10.1007/978-3-642-14678-7_38.
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