Alfred Lucas

Dates: 
1867 - 1945

British chemist; he was born Chorlton-upon-Medlock, Manchester, 27 Aug. 1867, son of Joshua Peter L., commercial traveller, and Sarah Thomas; he was educated at the School of Mines, London, and the Roy. Coll. of Science; he worked for eight years as an assistant chemist at the Government Laboratory in London, when lung trouble sent him to Egypt in 1897; here he became Chemist to the Govt. Salt Dept., 1898; he was in charge of the laboratories of the Survey Dept. and Assay Office, later Chemist to the Antiquities Service, 1923-32; from 1932 until 1945 he acted for it as Hon. Consulting Chemist; OBE; FIC; Membre Inst. Ég.; Lucas made a speciality of those fields for which his scientific training had prepared him, and made many analyses of materials and substances, as well as restoring and consolidating objects; in this field he played a very important part in the cleaning and restoration of the objects found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, and was lent to Carter (q.v.) by the Dept. of Antiquities, so that he could live and work with him on this material for 9 winters; he also dealt with the silver coffin of Sheshonq and its contents, found by Montet at Tanis, 1939; he was on the committee to investigate and report on the restorations and repairs 342 being carried out in the Theban tombs; he was a forensic and ballistic expert and his evidence was used in law courts in this field; during the Second World War he helped in the work of safeguarding the objects in Cairo Museum, and wrote two popular booklets for the forces serving in Egypt, entitled, Potted History of Egypt; he wrote 65 works in all, many of which still remain fundamental; Analyse de quelques spécimens de gris pris dans les colonnes de la Salle Hypostyle. 1901; The Blackened rocks of the Nile Cataracts and of the Egyptian Deserts, 1905; The Chemistry of the River Nile, 1908; Preservative materials used by the Ancient Egyptians in embalming, 1911; Antiques: Their restoration and preservation, 1924; Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, 1926, 4th ed., rev. J. R. Harris, 1962; The Route of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, 1938; he died while on a visit to Luxor, 9 Dec. 1945.