Scientific investigation is critical to understanding specific issues in Tutankhamen's tomb. Analysis of wall painting materials and technology was undertaken, including identification of pigments, binding medium, plaster layers, and previous treatment materials, such as adhesives. Other areas of investigation included study of environmental conditions, geotechnical and hydrological research and microbiological analysis to determine whether the brown spots found on the surface of the paintings pose a continuing risk. Scientific methods include:
In-situ instrumental analysis: Non-contact, non-invasive examination techniques such as technical imaging, portable X-ray diffraction (XRD), portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and work with a handheld microscope to study the wall paintings, sarcophagus, and outermost coffin.
Ex-situ instrumental analysis of samples: A limited number of samples were approved by the SCA for analysis at the GCI. Therefore, sampling areas were selected carefully, building upon information from in-situ visual examination and noninvasive study of the paintings. The main focus of the sampling was to look more in depth at causes of deterioration in order to develop the conservation plan. Analysis was undertaken at the GCI using cross-sections, Raman microspectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC/MS), pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS), Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy (FTIR), environmental scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (ESEM-EDX), and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Hydrological study of flood risks to the tomb and methods of prevention.
Literature research: For all investigations, background research was conducted in order to place the project findings within the wider context of existing knowledge in these areas of study.