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Nearly 3,500 Years Old, an Egyptian Monument Gets a Laser Cleaning

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We can hardly imagine a cleaning task of more epic or ancient proportions! This story in the NYTimes details the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s laser cleaning process of the 3,500 obelisk in their care:

Diana Craig Patch, the head of the Egyptian art department at the Met, raised an intriguing possibility. “I think it unlikely that there will be more scholarship on the hieroglyphs as a result of the cleaning, but we may know more about how it was painted possibly,” she said. “Traces might be found.”

Conservancy officials considered using lasers, microabrasives or chemical cleaners on the Obelisk. Beginning in October 2012, each method was tested on a small patch of the monument’s south face. Experts were then convened.

When everybody went up in a lift to see, by a great margin they said the laser had produced the greatest effect, with virtually no impact on the stone,” said Christopher Nolan, the conservancy’s vice president for planning, design and construction.

Read more.


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