Friday, March 11, 2011

Updating Internships and Conserving Archaeological Materials

Lana Radloff
Each academic year the Institute is honored to host one or more student interns from York University, the University of Waterloo and Brock University. These three-month long, hands-on educational and practical work experiences help the Institute in many ways, especially in the Library. During this past fall our intern was Lana Radloff, a M.A. candidate in archaeology in the Department of Classics at Brock University. This hard-working and dedicated intern is featured in the “Grad Student Profile” posted on February 17th in the e-newsletter The Brock News.

Book of the Blog
In the past when the term “archaeological conservation” was mentioned it usually denoted finding sherd joins and mending pots. The cleaning and repair of sculptural or epigraphical fragments would come to mind too. In the past 2-4 decades, however, archaeological conservation has changed dramatically with advances in technology as well as sensitive analytical techniques. The professional now is more complex and demanding, involving a wider range of responsibilities. To bring some coherence to this situation an “Archaeological Discussion” group was formed as a subgroup of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works’ Objects. To mark this occasion, a conference was organized (of unstated date and place, alas) to re-define and re-position the concept of “archaeological conservation” in light of new developments, analytical techniques and digital technologies.

The contributions from this conference are published in The Conservation of Archaeological Materials. Current trends and future directions, edited by E. Williams and C. Peachey (BAR International Series 2116, Oxford 2010). These mostly short contributions provide a series of “snapshots” that demonstrate what is happening in this rapidly expanding profession. These case studies cover a wide range of archaeological materials, analytical techniques and technologies, cultures and discovery contexts. Besides attempting to define more accurately the nature and purpose of the profession the first section explores what are its possibilities for the future. The other sections deal with, “Fieldwork and artifact stabilization”, “Documentation and the technical record”, “Archives and repositories”, and Collaboration and community involvement”. Many of these discussions resonate with the contributions in the two volumes mentioned in my previous blog relating to “digital heritage”. For the conservation, documentation and analysis of archaeological materials from the Aegean basin there are many contributions of interest here.

Cordially yours,
David Rupp

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