A detailed study of the monument, of its constituent materials and manufacturing techniques, as well as a thorough understanding of the deterioration mechanisms of its structures and decorations represent an essential preliminary phase in any conservation treatment. Several analytical tools were employed, including 1:20 mapping of the entire Tomba del Capo and annexed side chambers, 1:5 mapping of the painted surfaces, and preliminary documentation of deterioration signs on the rocks and painted surfaces using photos and condition maps.
Such alterations concerned both the rock support and the plaster layers. Extensive detachment due to water infiltration, soluble salt efflorescence and vegetation growth seriously endangered the remaining paintings and decorations.
The decorative elements’ appearance was severely altered by the presence of extensive lacunae and abrasions resulting from incisions and graffiti, darkening due to soot deposition, and chromatic alteration of cinnabar, typical of this pigment in frescoes.