Elaborately decorated caskets in the royal tomb at the Merseburg Cathedral

Funded through the KUR – Programme for the Conservation of Moveable Cultural Assets

The royal tomb at the Merseburg Cathedral contains 37 elaborately decorated pewter sarcophagi dating back to the turn of the 18th century. Many of the caskets were in a severely poor condition. Break-ins and vandalism over the years had resulted in metal deformation, material loss and mechanical damage. The poor air quality in the tomb had caused the caskets to corrode, and as time passed, the condition of the sarcophagi continually worsened.
To prevent further deterioration, this KUR project preserved these unique Baroque-period sarcophagi. This included safeguarding their structural integrity, cleaning and removing grime and fixing the paintings and gold plate. The conservation measures were undertaken in a Berlin workshop for metal conservation while the tomb itself was renovated and air-conditioned by the United Merseburg and Naumburg Cathedral Benefactors. The complex preservation measures involving the renovation of the rooms, air conditioning and metal conservation were essential for returning the refurbished caskets to the cathedral and making the tomb accessible again to the public.

Project administrator:
United Merseburg and Naumburg Cathedral Benefactors

Cooperative partners:
Institute for Diagnostics and Conservation of Monuments in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt
University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam, Dept. of Conservation
Rathgen Research Laboratory – Berlin State Museums, Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz
Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research, Bronnbach


Dr. Holger Kunde

Vereinigte Domstifter zu Merseburg und Naumburg

Direktor und Stiftskustos

Domplatz 16/17

06618 Naumburg

Tel.: +49 (0)3445 230125

www.vereinigtedomstifter.de (external link, opens in a new window)