The Vatican Coffin Project (VCP) is an international team project, set up in 2008 by the Egyptian Department of the Vatican Museums, directed by Alessia Amenta, in collaboration with the Diagnostic Laboratory for Conservation and Restoration of the Vatican Museums, directed by Ulderico Santamaria, to study polychrome coffins of the Third Intermediate Period in its first phase, but with the intention of later extending the project to different periods.

The following institutions/individuals are partners:

  • Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden
  • Musée du Louvre in Paris
  • Museo Egizio in Turin
  • Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France (C2RMF) in Paris
  • Centro Conservazione e Restauro La Venaria Reale in Turin
  • Xylodata in Paris
  • Kathlyn M. Cooney (UCLA University, Los Angeles) is collaborating in the project for the study of the reuse of coffins of Dynasty 21

The VCP has as its first goal a study of the construction and painting techniques of coffins, and, as its second, the identification of any “atelier”.

The structure of the VCP concerns 3 areas:

  • Egyptology
  • Conservation
  • Scientific analyses

The protocol of analyses of this project has been  carried out by the Diagnostic Laboratory of the Vatican Museums. The Protocol is in continuous evolution and is regularly up-dated.

The study of the coffins using CT-Scanning (Computerised Tomography) began thanks to the collaboration of the Department of Bio-imaging and Radiological Research of the University of Messina.
CT-Scanning (Computerised Tomography) serves as a fundamental tool for the study of the constructional techniques of coffins, for an understanding of the economic  re-use of wood within a carpenter’s workshop in ancient Egypt, for the re-cycling of wooden artefacts, and for future research on the  painting techniques of coffins.