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Protecting the painted sarcophagus of Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa

The British Museum's collections need special consideration during building work. A main cause for concern is damage to objects by vibration. In many instances this means that objects have to be relocated until the work has finished.

Potential problems for objects on display were identified prior to the construction of the Great Court. Conservators were notified that this painted sarcophagus might be at risk from vibration due to the building work. During inspection of the sarcophagus, it was noted that the lid did not fit very well to the base. The weight of the reclining figure of Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa was applying pressure to the ill-fitting lid. This factor combined with the potential for building vibration led conservators to recommend that the reclining figure be removed from display into storage.

When the figure was returned to the gallery, conservators inserted small protective cushions between the lid and the base to distribute the weight more evenly across the base.