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AbstractThe conservation of the tomb of Nefertari (No. 66, Valley of the Queens, Egypt) has attracted international concern for many years. However, previous assessments of the stability of this complex physicochemical system have been neither comprehensive in content nor unanimous in conclusions. Here, using available photographic and diagrammatic documentation from 1904, 1921, 1942, 1971 and 1987, these assessments are examined and mechanisms of deterioration are explored. It has been found that although some paint and plaster loss had occurred in the tomb of Nefertari prior to its discovery in 1904, additional large losses appeared between 1904 and 1971. Degradation in the upper tomb levels is less extensive than in the lower tomb levels. In the tomb as a whole, loss of large areas of both paint and plaster strata has slowed at least since 1971 and probably earlier. However, paint layer deterioration in the form of flaking has been continuous even when the tomb was closed. The pattern and physical characteristics of loss have shown that there are five interacting factors which underlie the deterioration of the tomb of Nefertari. Two intermittent but catastrophic factors operate over a short period of time: direct entry of flood-waters and the capillary absorption of trapped flood-waters into the tomb walls. Flood-waters cause immediate mechanical losses and absorbed waters induce morphological changes in the wall paintings. Absorbed waters contribute to the slower action of a third deterioration factor, sodium chloride. Salt and water movement and the eventual deposition of salt as micro- and macrocrystals throughout the painting substrate and surfaces undermine their structural stability. The chemical dehydration and associated instability of the tomb plaster is a fourth factor. This dehydration is suspected to be primarily the result of a very dry pre- or post-flood environment within the tomb. The mechanical damage caused by salt crystal growth in the friable plasters is one way that sodium chloride interacts with the plaster. Sodium chloride is suspected also to have accelerated the process of loss of chemically-bound water. The tomb materials, salt and water interact in another, previously unrecognized, slow process which is responsible for some paint flaking. This flaking is consistent with the interaction of the painted layer with a fifth factor: air humidity and its fluctuations. A four-stage, long-term conservation scheme is suggested in this paper. It involves the climatic and physical isolation of the original, the consolidation of the walls, and the construction of a replica tomb.Wilson-Yang, K. M., and George Burns. “The Stability of the Tomb of Nefertari 1904-1987.”Studies in Conservation, vol. 34, no. 4, 1989, pp. 153–170.JSTOR, Accessed 14 May 2020.