Inking a 15 meter long life-size facsimile drawing from TT 65, the Theban tomb of Imiseba

Nov 29, 2020

In Theban tomb 65, the in-situ drawing process was designed to produce an entire wall surface (10-15 meters in length and about 4 meters in height) worth of facsimile sheets each season (in approximately 30 workdays).

In stark contrast with the often rushed and physically trying fieldwork, inking the TT65 material was a much more leisurely affair spread out to multiple months between excavation seasons.

First, every sheet of transparent paper was taped to the floor of a room large enough to accommodate an ancient Egyptian wall painting (averaged about 50 square meters). Finding the exact alignment between sheets was still utterly difficult, despite a few centimeters of overlap drawn between the adjoining pieces.

A typical wall painting had to be “built-up” in long horizontal segments stretching along the entire length of the wall but occupying only a certain 90 centimeters of its height at a time. This rule was set based on the maximum paper width scanners could take 20 years ago.

Taping the facsimile pencil drawings to the floor was followed by covering them with a long stripe of blank transparent paper, 90 centimeters in width, also enrolled along the entire length of the decorative surface. Retracing each pencil line by Rapidograph ink pens started at the upper left corner of the wall, slowly proceeding towards the bottom, attaching yet another stripe (with a little bit of overlap) for each segment.

During this process, various line widths represented the many different layers of information, deliberately introducing dashed and dotted variations to distinguish between preliminary sketches, damaged areas, graffiti, and final paintings.

To read about the epigraphic challenges proposed by TT 65, click here.

This post was originally released as part of digitalEPIGRAPHY's growing Instagram collection. If you'd like to see our latest photos as soon as we post them, please follow us on Instagram.

Back to Gallery

What to see next