By Mohamed Moustafa, Medhat Abd Allah, Ramy Magdy, Ahmed Abdrabou, Islam Shaheen, Hussein M. Kamal
The scribe box under study dates back to the old kingdom. It was excavated by the Italian expedition in
Qena (1935-1937). The box consists of the lid and the body. The inner side of the lid is decorated with ancient
Egyptian inscriptions written with a black pigment. The box was made by using several panels assembled
together by wooden dowels and secured with vegetable ropes. The entire box is covered with a red pigment.
This study aims to use analytical techniques to identify and have deep understanding for the box components.
Moreover, the authors were significantly interested in using infrared reflectance transmission imaging
(RTI-IR) to improve the hidden inscriptions on the lid. The visual observation and assessment were done to
understand the condition of this box. 3D dimensions software was used to illustrate wood joints techniques.
Optical microscopy (OM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray fluorescence portable (XRF) and Fourier Transform
Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were used in this study in order to identify wood species, remains of insects
bodies, red pigment, vegetable fibers and previous conservation adhesives, also RTI-IR technique was effective
to improve hidden inscriptions. The results proved that wooden panels and dowels were Acacia (Acacia
nilotica), wooden rail is willow (Salix sp). The insects are the cigarette beetle (Lasioderma serricorne) and spider
beetle (Gibbium psylloids), the red pigment is Hematite, while the vegetable fibers were linen and previous
adhesive was identified as cellulose nitrates. RTI-IR technique was effective to improve hidden inscriptions.
The historical study for the inscriptions proved that it is a hieratic writings of a funerary text.