Technical Investigation and Conservation of Core Cast Bronze Statuettes of Osiris

Document Type : research articles


Department of conservation, Faculty of Archaeology, Damietta University, Damietta, Egypt


This study focuses on six Egyptian bronze statuettes dating from the Late Period (664-332 BC, which were cast around a sandy clay core using the lost-wax process. Theses statuettes depict the god Osiris and were excavated from Ehnasya, Beni Suef governorate, Egypt. They are distinguished by having thin walls, estimated to be approximately 1-1.5 mm thick. The analytical study aims to identify the metallic structure, corrosion crusts, casting core, and characterize the manufacturing technique. Various methods, including optical microscopy (OM), metallographic microscope, scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer (pXRF), were employed. The results indicate that the statuettes were most likely made of leaded bronze alloy using the direct lost-wax method, a technique commonly used for manufacturing thin-walled bronze castings. The statuettes exhibit cracks and breaks in various areas, likely attributed to factors such as manufacturing defects, core expansion, or corrosion during burial. Corrosion products identified by XRD include clinoatacamite, cuprite, chalcopyrite, and those resulting from soil burial (calcite and quartz). The core is composed of a mixture of quartz and clay minerals. Finally, the statuettes underwent mechanical cleaning and treated with 3% (w/v) benzotriazole in alcohol, followed by the application of two layers of 3% (w/v) paraloid B-72 in acetone to insure long-term corrosion protection.


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