Uncovering Ancient Paintings

Most Egyptian temples were once as colourful as the tombs in Luxor, their walls, pillars and ceilings completely painted. It was long believed that the colours had been lost to time and the abrasive winds. But work inside the hypostyle hall at the Temple of Khnum shows that the colours are still there. Using a cocktail of chemicals, archaeologists have delicately removed millennia of dust and dirt to confirm that all figures were completely painted and all backgrounds were white. There is now a debate among Egyptologists as to whether the entire temple – and other temples – should be restored, or whether the majority should be left covered, and therefore protected, for future generations.