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An ancient Egyptian scribal palette in the Book of the Dead exhibition at the British Museum

A conservator at the British Museum working on an ancient Egyptian scribal palette in preparation for the exhibition Journey through the afterlife: ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. © Trustees of the British Museum. Created by British Museum.

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Video transcript

this scribe or palette is 3,000 years old and would have been used by Egyptian scribes to write books of the Dead the original reads are so fragile that over time they deteriorate you can see here a tiny fragment which has come off it needs reattaching to the tip of the reed this is a job for Gemma the organics conservator to attach it she needs to make the perfect blue solution after giving it a good mix up with a wooden toothpick she checks her concoction with a metal needle to ensure it's the right consistency perfect now she must quickly but carefully put the glue on the back of the reed fragment then with medical tweezers and her steady hand she picks it up and slots it back into place but Gemma's work is not over yet on this scribe or palate there is another fragment that needs to be put back using the same technique after this it will be ready to be on display in the museum's next major exhibition you