Into the Light: Conserving a Late Antique Manichean papyrus manuscript for synchrotron light analysis

This paper will explore the challenges of preparing a third-century papyrus manuscript for analysis at the Diamond Light Source synchrotron facility in the U.K. Chester Beatty manuscript Pma 5 is an extremely fragile Manichean manuscript, which has proved largely inaccessible to scholars due to severe deterioration and blocking of the papyrus support it was written on. The fragility of the papyrus was so extreme that any movement of the object raised serious preservation concerns.  However, thanks to the use of a new system developed at the National Museum of Ireland, it was possible to safely transport and analyse this unique object. It is hoped that over time as this data is processed, it may reveal secrets which remain physically hidden from view.


Kristine Rose-Beers

Kristine Rose-Beers ACR is Head of Conservation at the Chester Beatty in Dublin, Ireland, and an accredited member of the Institute of Conservation (ICON). She specialises in the conservation of Islamic manuscript material, with particular interest in the importance of materiality and codicology to contemporary conservation solutions. Kristine has taught and lectured internationally, and is a regular tutor at the Montefiascone Project in Italy. She is a member of the Institute of Conservator-Restorers in Ireland (ICRI) and a member of the Board of Directors of The Islamic Manuscript Association (TIMA).