Since 1995, the Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, known as Chicago House has been carrying out conservation of inscribed sandstone fragments in Luxor Temple, Egypt.
Over the last 18 years, the project went through various phases in order to meet the most immediate needs on site. The original focus on documentation, treatment, and condition monitoring of about 2000 registered fragments quickly evolved to include emergency protection of additional 40,000 unstudied, inscribed fragments. After the emergency protection of the fragments was achieved, the project focus shifted to site management including stabilization of temple walls by reconstruction and providing public access to the collection by creation of an open-air museum.
This article discusses challenges such as managing a massive amount of semiportable artifacts with limited resources, balancing protection with public access and working with a community heavily reliant on the tourist industry. In addition, it includes the ongoing impact of Egypt’s 2011 revolution on the community surrounding the site as well as on our conservation approach.