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6. Specialty Session [clear filter]
Thursday, May 31


(Architecture + Archaeological Conservation) Digging Deep: The Importance of Collaborations between Architectural Conservators and Archeologists
Excavating at an archeological site or probing a building can provide opportunities for architectural conservators and archeologists to work together. We do not collaborate as often as we should. This paper examines several projects where either there was collaboration or it was lacking and demonstrates how these two types of conservators examining materials together extracts a better understanding of what has been found. Building archeology is the study of a building. Despite the word archeology, it is not uncommon for Architectural Conservators to forget the archeologist. Removing floorboards for repairs in the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City uncovered layers of objects including buttons, bones and tickets hidden in rats’ nests as well as material that had fallen between the floorboards over the course of a hundred and thirty years. Archeologists were a key part of the team retrieving and documenting this material for interpretation. Another type of project that would benefit from more collaboration is cemetery conservation. Often cemetery conservation is limited to repairing, aligning, and resetting markers, ensuring the cemetery looks tidy. But not all cemeteries had neatly placed gravestones surrounded by careful plantings. African American burials were often marked by grave goods or “offerings” placed upon graves. These items could be pottery and shells, as well as everyday objects such as cups, spoons, dolls heads, and clothing. Sandy Ground, a cemetery on the southern tip of Staten Island, was originally the resting place for an early free African American fishing community. It was vandalized in the 1990s. In an effort to restore the cemetery, it was cleaned up and many grave goods that were thought to be trash were lost. Archeologists can also forget that architectural conservators have extensive knowledge of historic building materials. During work on New York City Hall, a brick foundation was uncovered that was thought to be an early eighteenth century foundation. An examination by the architectural conservators found the walls were constructed of pressed brick and the mortar was natural cement, which dated the foundations well into the nineteenth century. On projects where archeologists and architectural conservators have worked together, a greater understanding of the building or site can emerge. An examination of the foundations of Federal Hall in New York City by a team consisting of an architectural conservator and an archeologist quickly dispelled the notion that the foundations were from a seventeenth century structure. An examination of walls discovered in Battery Park during work on the New York City subway system also benefited from a team of archeologists and architectural conservators working together. The excavated walls could not be saved, but the team was able to thoroughly document the techniques and materials used to construct them.

avatar for Mary A. C. Jablonski

Mary A. C. Jablonski

Conservator, Jablonski Building Conservation, Inc.
Mary Jablonski is the president and founder of Jablonski Building Conservation, Inc. She has over 26 years' experience in many aspects of historic conservation. Mary is involved with almost all projects. This helps to insure that a consistent methodology is applied across projects... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Texas Ballroom C Marriott Marquis Houston


(Architecture + Archaeological Conservation) Loves Me like a Rock: Care and Preservation of Ancient Graffiti in a Rock-Cut Kushite Temple
This talk describes the preservation of ancient graffiti in a rock-cut temple at the site of El Kurru in Sudan. El Kurru is the location of a royal burial ground of ancient Kush (a region located in modern-day northern Sudan), and the site encompasses multiple pyramid burials as well as two rock-cut funerary temples. The sandstone temple that is the focus of this project was built during the late Napatan period (ca. 350 BC), and its walls and columns are heavily inscribed with devotional graffiti from the Meroitic period (ca. 100 BC – AD 100). It is an impressive and unique structure, a source of pride for local residents, and an interesting and accessible feature for visitors. The ancient graffiti it contains provide a unique glimpse into the lives of individuals in antiquity, providing information about their thoughts, values, and daily lives. El Kurru’s sandstone monuments suffer from granular disintegration and other serious condition problems. Although the conservation of archaeological heritage is often complicated, it is especially challenging in Sudan due to a fragile national economy and comprehensive intertnational sanctions against the country (except - these were just lifted in October 2017! - so it might get better!). For these reasons, a holistic approach has been used to preserve the graffiti. Work began with a criterion-anchored rating (CAR) condition survey designed to identify, prioritize, and monitor condition issues. Chemical analysis of the stone was conducted, and treatment options including alkoxysilane consolidation and grout injection were explored. Preventive conservation strategies for the temple, including a protective shelter and increased community education, have also been developed. Finally, reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) was used to document the graffiti’s condition and create a virtual, visual catalog. This talk emphasizes key principles for guiding conservation at archaeological sites: practicality, flexibility, sustainability, and placing a high value on the contributions and wishes of stakeholders.

avatar for Suzanne Davis

Suzanne Davis

Conservator, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
Suzanne Davis is an associate curator and the head of conservation at the University of Michigan’s Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. Prior to joining the Museum in 2001, she was a conservator for the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C. She... Read More →

avatar for Janelle Batkin-Hall

Janelle Batkin-Hall

Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Objects Conservation, National Museum of African Art
Janelle Batkin-Hall is a Mellon Fellow in objects conservation at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution. She holds an M.A. and Certificate of Advanced Study in Art Conservation from Buffalo State College. Janelle earned undergraduate degrees in photography and... Read More →
avatar for Carrie Roberts-[PA]

Carrie Roberts-[PA]

Conservator, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
Caroline Roberts is a conservator at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology at the University of Michigan. She is a graduate of the Winterthur / University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, and is a professional associate of the AIC. Her interests include the conservation and preservation... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 2:30pm - 3:00pm
Texas Ballroom C Marriott Marquis Houston


(Architecture + Archaeological Conservation) A Collaborative Model for Rock Art Conservation in the Algerian Desert
Algeria, the biggest country in North Africa with an area over 2 million square kilometers, has seven stunning UNESCO World Heritage sites. Among them are the earliest prehistorical sites in North Africa: the Oldwayen site of Ain el-Hanech, 1.8 million years BC. The area is enormous and it is difficult to administer effective long-term site management, preservation, and preventative measures. Not only are these cultural heritage sites threatened by extreme weather and climate, but human intervention, looting, vandalism, and terrorism. In order to protect these vast heritage sites, in the mid 2000s the Algerian authorities created the “Algerian Cultural Parks Projects” in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and executed by the Algerian Ministry of Culture. This launched a preventative conservation project applying a new model of local partnerships with Tuoareg and other tribal elders and stakeholders. 
Contained in this centralized Cultural Parks System are five major sites. Park of l’Ahaggar – over 633,000 km2; Tassili N’Ajjer Park – over 138,000 km2; Tindouf – over 168,000 km2; Atlas Saharian Park – over 63,000 km2; and Touat Gourarar Tidikelt Park – over 38,000 km2. The most important cultural heritage in this desert designation is the rock art. There are literally thousands of paintings and engravings out in the open, as well as sheltered in caves. They include masterpieces from the earliest period of art in the Sahara, the Large Wild Fauna Period. These life-size engravings of elephant, rhino, hippo, giraffe, and buffalo show a time when the Sahara was green and fertile. 
Conservation management in the Park of Ahaggar focused on the sites closest to roads and human communities, and then radiated out to the remote regions, often several days’ camel or jeep ride away. Preservation work commenced with detailed inventories including images, GPS, and narrative descriptions. For all the conservation surveys and routine checks, the Park recruited guides among the local population, namely the Touaregs. This detailed inventory work in remote regions was only possible with the collaboration and expertise of these partners, who are very familiar with the sites, locations, and routes. Most importantly, the communities and nomadic groups trust the guides; they often speak the same dialects, thereby facilitating a level of trust, access, and reliable information. The exchange of knowledge was two-way; the local Tuoareg elders and guides’ knowledge of the terrain, history, and symbolism of the sites was a rich resource that was documented as well. As archeological conservators, we were able to provide monitoring guidelines, compile massive data inventories, prioritize conservation site needs, and introduce an acceptable level of outside management to these sites. The relationships continue, as the guides serve on the “frontline” identifying areas of need and alerting archeological managers. This partnership has allowed for a much higher success in the protection of remote sites and movable cultural heritage, by developing a model based on trust, which has enabled government and university experts to work closely with local stewards. 

avatar for Hakim Bouakkache

Hakim Bouakkache

Assistant Professor, University of Constantine, Algeria
Hakim Bouakkache is an assistant professor at the University of Constantine, in the department of archaeology and conservation, who helped design and build the collaborative conservation model for desert heritage sites. He worked at the National Museum Bardo in Algiers, and studied... Read More →

avatar for Julia M Brennan-[PA]

Julia M Brennan-[PA]

Owner, Textile Conservation Services / Caring For Textiles
Julia M. Brennan is a textile conservator based in Washington, DC. She has a passion for textiles, Asia, preserving heritage for our children and great greats, and teaching people how to care for their own cultural heritage.

Thursday May 31, 2018 3:00pm - 3:30pm
Texas Ballroom C Marriott Marquis Houston


(Architecture + Archaeological Conservation) Evaluation of Organosilicon Materials for Conservation of Ancient Grey Bricks
Grey bricks were produced manually and used as the major traditional building materials in ancient China. However, the characteristics of grey bricks make them vulnerable to water, salt and other environmental factors. Organosilicon materials, such as ethyl silicate, organosiloxanes, and silicone resin, have been tested as the effective protective materials for silicate based stones. In this study, we evaluated the effectiveness of different organosilicon materials on grey bricks by total and half immersions. The penetration depths, appearance alterations, water adsorptions, hydrophobic properties and compressive strengths were measured after the treatments. The samples were also experienced the salt solution immersion, freeze-thaw and UV aging tests to evaluate the durability of different conservation treatments. It is found that different characteristics of the organosilicon materials lead to different conservation performances, such as water repellence, consolidation effect and durability. But it remains difficult to determine an appropriate material for the conservation of ancient architecture built with grey bricks.

avatar for Yue Yuan

Yue Yuan

Student, Zhejiang University


Zhengrong Fu

research fellow, Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology
Research fellow at Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology.

Chenglei Meng

research fellow, Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology
Research fellow at Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology.

Jie Mi

Student, Zhejiang University
Undergraduate of Zhejing University, majoring in cultural heritage and museology.

Xiaozhen Wang

Student, Zhejiang University
Undergraduate of Zhejing University, majoring in cultural heritage and museology.

Hui Zhang

Associate professor, Department of Applied Chemistry, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China
Associate Professor,Department of Applied Chemistry, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, China. Mainly reasch about organic chemical synthesis

Thursday May 31, 2018 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Texas Ballroom C Marriott Marquis Houston


(Architecture + Archaeological Conservation) Preventive conservation training in the Moche Valley, Peru
The MOCHE, Inc. Conservation Field School in summer 2017 (Huanchaco, Peru) provided training in preventive conservation and collections care on archaeological sites to binational undergraduate, graduate, and pre-program students . This paper reports on the program, which, co-directed by an archaeologist and conservator, aimed to bridge the gaps between training for work in the field and for work in museum collections. The program provided the opportunity for students to gain an encompassing perspective of the life-history of material culture from excavation through processing and analysis, to storage and display. We believe this holistic perspective is essential for all cultural heritage professionals, yet training programs of this type are not always available. Participants came to the program with varying levels of skills and experience in archaeology and conservation. American students and Peruvian students from the Universidad Nacional de Trujillo worked together on excavated materials from the regional survey led by UNT's archaeology lab. The students participated in archaeological excavation, finds processing, and recording, working hands-on with finds from the current and previous field seasons. As part of program curriculum they also learned about and engaged in basic conservation and collections management principles and practices. This work complemented the field school’s instruction in the materials that make up the archaeological record and the prehistory of the north coast of Peru. Students used close observation of the project collections to understand how the objects were made and used, and identified modifications in the objects from initial use-life and those occurring during deposition and post-excavation. Students visited archaeological storage facilities in Peru and learned about principles of safe storage and packing for archaeological finds. At the close of the program, students carried out some of the proposed improvements for safe objects packing using appropriate materials and methods. The students also visited archaeological sites and museums throughout the region to understand the benefits and risks that tourism development brings to local communities. This program is part of MOCHE Inc’s broader heritage preservation efforts. MOCHE, INC (Mobilizing Opportunities for Community Heritage Empowerment, http://savethemoche.org/) is an organization founded by archaeologists dedicated to improving the standard of living in impoverished communities, preserving archaeological sites, and promoting research and education on the rich cultural heritage of Peru. MOCHE Inc.’s work over the past 20 years in Peru has demonstrated that close community ties and community-oriented projects go hand in hand with preserving archaeological sites. This project demonstrates that preventive conservation need not be narrowly construed as concerning only tasks such as managing museum and storage environments (of course very important topics on their own) but can also encompass a variety of other community engagement and education activities crucial to the goal of heritage preservation.

avatar for Jessica Walthew

Jessica Walthew

Conservator, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
Jessica Walthew is an objects conservator at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. She holds an MA in Art History and Archaeology with advanced certificate in Conservation from NYU's Institute of Fine Arts, Conservation Center. Her research and teaching interests include history... Read More →

avatar for Alicia Boswell

Alicia Boswell

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Cultures of Conservation, Bard Graduate Center/Metropolitan Museum of Art
I am an anthropological archaeologist whose research examines the dynamics of complex societies and interactions between PrenColumbian groups in different ecological zones of the Andes. My field research prioritizes examining the lived experience of household and producer communities... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 4:30pm - 5:00pm
Texas Ballroom C Marriott Marquis Houston


(Architecture + Archaeological Conservation) Keeping it Vertical: Use of GIS to create a streamlined survey and work order system for a historic landscape
Keeping it Vertical: Use of GIS to create a streamlined survey and work order system for a historic landscape Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery is home to over 200,000 historic monuments and over 7,000 trees throughout its 478 acres. As Green-Wood’s landscape ages and evolves, the need for more technologically advanced collections management software became apparent, a need which resulted in the creation of a unique ArcGIS-based collection management system. In Collector for ArcGIS, management and field crews input survey information such as date, material, dimensions, and conditions of a historic monument or caliper, condition, and taxonomic information of a tree. Managers also create work orders in Collector, which thanks to a first-of-its-kind script which links the two, automates the creation of a work-order in WorkForce for ArcGIS. Work orders are assigned by the Manager, and analytics related to executed work orders and efficiency metrics are reviewed in an Operations Dashboard. The link between Collector and WorkForce allows staff members to geotag work orders to specific trees and monuments while tracking their progress and saving survey information along the way. By utilizing the power of GIS, our software analyzes our landscape’s varied assets simultaneously and streamlines the implementation of the work necessary to maintain those assets, thus offering an enhanced, multi-faceted portrait of Green-Wood. Software such as this could be used across other large historic cemeteries, large archeological sites, city and state park land, throughout museum environments, and scores of other cultural landscapes. This presentation will guide viewers through the inception of the software and its application in the field. Founded in 1838 and now a National Historic Landmark, Green-Wood was one of the first rural cemeteries in America. By the early 1860s, it had earned an international reputation for its magnificent beauty and became the prestigious place to be buried, attracting 500,000 visitors a year, second only to Niagara Falls as the nation’s greatest tourist attraction. Crowds flocked there to enjoy family outings, carriage rides, and sculpture viewing in the finest of first generation American landscapes. Green-Wood’s popularity helped inspire the creation of public parks, including New York City’s Central and Prospect Parks. Green-Wood is 478 spectacular acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths, throughout which exists one of the largest outdoor collections of 19th- and 20th-century statuary and mausoleums. Four seasons of beauty from century-and-a-half-old trees offer a peaceful oasis to visitors, as well as its 570,000 permanent residents, including Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley, Civil War generals, baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers and inventors.

avatar for Joseph Charap

Joseph Charap

Director of Horticulture, Green-Wood Cemetery
Joseph Charap is the Director of Horticulture and Curator at Green-Wood Cemetery, in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from the New York Botanical Garden's School of Professional Horticulture. He is a certified arborist and has a Masters in English Literature from Brooklyn College... Read More →
avatar for Neela K. Wickremesinghe

Neela K. Wickremesinghe

Manager of Restoration and Preservation, Green-Wood Cemetery
Neela K. Wickremesinghe joined the Green-Wood team during fall 2016. Ms. Wickremesinghe holds MS in Historic Preservation from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.

Thursday May 31, 2018 5:00pm - 5:30pm
Texas Ballroom C Marriott Marquis Houston
Friday, June 1


(Objects + Archaeological Conservation) Facial Reconstruction of Ancient Egyptian Mummies: Experiences from the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum
Poised at the intersection of science and art, the field of facial reconstruction offers an unprecedented way to approach the ancient dead as human beings who “look like us.” This paper discusses issues precipitated by the digital reconstruction of the faces of two ancient Egyptians stewarded by the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, and considers how new scientific technologies as well as ethical concerns complicate attempts to render human remains more recognizably human. The interdisciplinary nature of this project required developing a new framework for respectful practices for the preservation and presentation of human remains, particularly as there were many perspectives involved; in the case of this research, this included the combined expertise and insights of forensic artists and anthropologists, a facial prosthetist, radiologists, biomedical engineers, digital imaging specialists, Egyptologists, graduate and undergraduate students, as well as an art conservator. Focusing on two ancient Egyptian individuals who have been closely associated with the history of Baltimore, and Johns Hopkins University, its hospital and its Archaeological Museum since the early twentieth century, this paper highlights the many unexpected types of documentation that were required to more fully understand the “object biographies” of these two individuals. From their acquisitions to early autopsies, to past conservation treatments, recent computed tomography scanning and digital reconstruction as well as multi-band imaging of associated objects, the kinds of data, and expertise required to decode these new kinds of data, has raised questions about how we affect a more holistic stewardship of human remains. The paper will also consider how the final digital depictions were contextualized and interpreted for a broader audience through student documentation and student-designed public programming in order to invite the museum visitor and the public to have a role in ensuring a respectful stewardship of the people of the past.

avatar for Sanchita Balachandran-[Fellow]

Sanchita Balachandran-[Fellow]

Associate Director, Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, The Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum
Sanchita Balachandran is Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. She teaches courses related to the technical study and analysis of ancient objects, as... Read More →


Juan Garcia

Student, Ridgely Middle School
avatar for Mark Roughley

Mark Roughley

Research and Teaching Assistant, Liverpool John Moores University
Mark is a trained Medical Artist and his 3D modelling, CGI texturing and animation skills, alongside knowledge of CT data reconstruction practice, 3D scanning and 3D printing are used to aid in Craniofacial Reconstruction and for presentation to public audiences.
avatar for Kathryn Smith

Kathryn Smith

PhD researcher, Face Lab
Craniofacial identification and depiction (forensic and archaeological)visual art and curatorshipEthics of display
avatar for Meg Swaney

Meg Swaney

PhD Student, Egyptian Art & Archaeology, Johns Hopkins University
Meg Swaney is a PhD student in Egyptian Art & Archaeology and a Graduate Student Museum Supervisor at the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum. She she does osteological work at the JHU Mut Temple expedition, and her dissertation focuses on the art history of the temple of Ptolemy... Read More →
avatar for Caroline Wilkinson

Caroline Wilkinson

Director, Liverpool School of Art & Design
Craniofacial identification and forensic art

Friday June 1, 2018 8:30am - 9:00am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects + Archaeological Conservation) Gold Working at Ur: A Collaborative Project to Better Understand Ancient Gold Smithing
This paper presents recent research on gold artifacts from the Royal Cemetery of Ur, ca. 2450-2100 BCE and proposes some possible methods for their manufacture. Sir Leonard Woolley excavated these artifacts at the site of Tell al-Muqayyar (ancient Ur) in southern Iraq in the 1920s-1930’s as part of a project sponsored by the Penn Museum and the British Museum. Iraq’s 1924 Antiquities Law provided for a division of finds, and half the material went to the Iraq Museum, with a quarter going to the Penn Museum and a quarter going to the British Museum. The initial data were collected as part of the Ur Digitization Project, a joint initiative between the Penn Museum and the British Museum to digitize objects and records at both institutions. The collaborative nature of the Ur digitization project fostered interdisciplinary research at the Penn Museum. These relationships have continued beyond the Ur Digitization Project and so too has the examination of the gold from Ur. Initial analysis of the gold from Ur focused on objects from Private Grave (PG) 1422. It has since expanded to include a diverse selection of gold items from the Royal Cemeteries as new research has been conducted in preparation for the re-installation of the Middle East galleries at the Museum. This paper will focus on three distinct object types, gold vessels, gold jewelry, and gold fillets. All the data presented here were captured non-invasively using digital X-radiography and digital photomicrographs. While X-radiography and microscopy are not new techniques for the examination of archaeological objects, new developments in digital processing allows for better data collection that can highlight features previously difficult to capture. The present study combines the knowledge of conservators, archaeometallurgists, and archaeologists to better understand how the gold vessels and adornments from the royal cemeteries may have been manufactured. This interdisciplinary study places the objects within their archaeological context as well as highlights which aspects of their manufacture are significant.

avatar for Tessa de Alarcon

Tessa de Alarcon

Project Conservator, Penn Museum
Tessa de Alarcon has been a Project Conservator at the Penn Museum since 2012. She received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2004 where she majored in studio art and minored in archaeology, and her M.A. from the UCLA/Getty Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic... Read More →


Moritz Jansen

Teaching Specialist for Archaeometallurgy for the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials, Penn Museum
Moritz Jansen has been the Teaching Specialist for Archaeometallurgy at the new Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials at the Penn Museum since October 2015. Before he came to the Penn Museum he was employed as a Research Fellow in the Department for Archaeometallurgy... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Richard Zettler

Dr. Richard Zettler

Associate Curator-in-Charge of Penn Museum’s Near East Section, Penn Museum
Richard L. Zettler is an archaeologist specializing in Mesopotamia, the region occupied by modern Iraq and Syria. He received his MA and PhD (1984) in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago. He worked at Nippur, early Mesopotamia’s religious center... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 9:00am - 9:30am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects + Archaeological Conservation) The Tell-Tale Conservation of Two 2,000 Year Old Leather Water-Skins
In the early sixties, archaeologist Yigael Yadin excavated the "Cave of Letters" located near the Dead Sea in the Judean Desert, Israel. The cave probably served as a hideout during the second Jewish revolt against the Romans in 132 CE. Among many rare finds were several vegetable tanned leather water-skins, two of them in nearly complete form. While water-skins were originally created to contain liquids, the content of one of these excavated water-skins was different. It included: unspun wool skeins, jewelry, clothing, small glass vessels, wooden cosmetics utensils, and spindle whorls, indicating a secondary use of the water-skin as a satchel. The most historically significant items in the water-skin were a packet of letters written by Shimon Bar Kokhba himself, the leader of the rebellion, to his subordinates in hiding - hence the name “Cave of Letters”. The dry, stable conditions in the cave resulted in the leather’s fine state of preservation. Details such as historical repairs, in the form of sewn patches, could clearly be recognized in several places on the water-skin, and its opening end was still tied with an original rope. The water-skins, which are under the jurisdiction of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), are part of the archaeological collection of the Israel Museum (IMJ) in Jerusalem and are on display. Prior to their arrival at the IMJ, the water-skins were treated, probably in the mid 1960’s. Although no treatment records exist, black and white photographs from the excavation revealed that this initial treatment included cleaning, reshaping and inserting an inner support of a thick, cream colored fabric stuffed with hay. Nylon filament was used to hold down leather pieces which were folded over. In 1998, the IMJ’s Metal and Organic Materials Conservation Department was asked to assess the condition of the two treated water-skins. The evaluation concluded that while the leather was in exceptional state for its age, the 1960’s materials used in the treatment were not of conservation grade, and the aesthetics of the objects were not pleasing. It was therefore decided that one of the water-skins would be retreated. In 2017, fifty years after its initial treatment, and twenty years after the retreatment of its “twin”, the second water-skin was retreated. Over the span of 55 years, three different teams of well-meaning professionals tended to these invaluable treasures. Each team, with their knowledge and available materials, used these to their best abilities. This presentation aims to reveal, compare, and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment within the perspective of time.

avatar for Irit Lev Beyth

Irit Lev Beyth

Conservator, Israel Museum
Irit Lev Beyth graduated in 1994 from Queen's University with a Master's of Art in Conservation. She interned at The Brooklyn Museum of Art and has been an objects conservator at The Israel Museum since 1998. In 2015 she was appointed Head of Metals and Organic Objects Conservation... Read More →
avatar for Hadas Seri

Hadas Seri

Object Conservator, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Hadas Seri is an object conservator at the Metals and Organic Materials Conservation, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. She graduated in 2010 from the Master of Art Conservation program at Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada. Ms. Seri holds a second MA in Art History and a B.Sc... Read More →

avatar for Liatte Dotan

Liatte Dotan

Student, The Israel Museum
Liatte is a pre-program intern in object conservation at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. In 2016 she obtained her B.A from the Honors Art History Program at Tel Aviv University. Liatte intends to continue her studies with a degree in art conservation in the coming years.
avatar for Jessica Lewinsky

Jessica Lewinsky

Object Conservator, Israel Museum
Jessica Lewinsky is an objects conservator at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. She specializes in collections care and preventive conservation. In 2014 she obtained her B.A.Sc. in Art and Heritage Conservation from ECRO, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico; and in 2017 her M.A. in Theory and... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 9:30am - 10:00am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects + Archaeological Conservation) Hot Tub Time Machine: A Heated Water System for Artifact Disassembly and Treatment
The conservation of complex composite artifacts can pose a real challenge for conservators. Different material types often require dissimilar treatment methods, which can be incompatible between materials, resulting in the potential to damage one while attempting to conserve another. Therefore, when determined necessary, the decision can be made to disassemble an object, treat component parts separately, and then reassemble after treatment. This approach can be especially difficult for objects recovered from archaeological sites. The effects of the burial environment can lead to the hardening and embrittlement of organic materials and corrosion and de-alloying of metals. In both scenarios, this can result in an inability to easily and safely take part archaeological objects requiring the development of new treatment techniques and procedures. Between 1998 and 2002, over 210-tons of artifacts from the wreck site of the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor were recovered off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina by archaeologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and US Navy divers. Many of the retrieved artifacts came from the vessel’s engine room which included five steam engines and an assortment of plumbing assemblies. Having spent nearly 140 years on the seafloor, the cast iron elements of these artifacts had de-alloyed through graphitic corrosion and now possessed the structural integrity of chalk. If that was not challenging enough, a majority of the “graphitized” objects had attached component parts which had become adhered together by rubber gaskets that had hardened having lost their elasticity over time. Early in the treatment of these artifacts, it was clear that some level of disassembly would be required so that organic, copper alloy, and iron alloy elements could receive independent treatment. However, any attempt to separate the objects into their component parts led to the cracking or breaking of the fragile “graphitized” material due to the rigidity of the gaskets. Fortunately for the conservation staff, during the application of a routine hot treatment technique used to removed concretion from copper alloy artifacts, it was discovered that a temperature of approximately 160 degrees Fahrenheit caused a previously hardened rubber gasket to soften an become pliable. This revelation led to the hypothesis that one potential solution to the disassembly conundrum could be to submerge the artifacts in a hot water bath and allow the transmission of heat to soften the gasket material; thus, limiting damage to the de-alloyed cast iron during disassembly. Additional experimentation to identify the effects of an elevated temperature on “graphitized” cast iron samples followed. Positive results from sample testing led to the design and construction of a heated water system and the development of a treatment procedure for artifact disassembly. This paper will provide an overview of the project and the operation the hot water tank apparatus. In addition, other potential treatment uses for the machine will be highlighted.

avatar for William Hoffman

William Hoffman

Director of Conservation, The Mariners' Museum
Will Hoffman received his Master's degree in art conservation from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario in 2009 specializing in the conservation of objects. He received Bachelors’ degrees in Anthropology and Fine Arts at The State University of New York College at Buffalo in... Read More →


Ralph Spohn

Conservation Department Volunteer, The Mariners' Museum and Park
Ralph Spohn holds a PhD Organometallic chemistry. He worked for a major petrochemical company for 28+ years. During this time he was involved in basic and applied research. He holds 10 patents. He developed and ran this company’s research analytical lab for 5 years. He was recognized... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 10:30am - 11:00am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects + Archaeological Conservation) ‘All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter’: Developing Guidelines for the Recovery of Tin-plate on Mineralized Archaeological Iron through Material Analysis
X-radiographs are important guides for the air abrasive cleaning of archaeological iron. What happens then when an important feature, such as a finishing surface, recorded by an x-radiograph fails to materialize? Is this merely human error on the part of the conservator? Can the x-radiographic signatures of these surfaces be caused by other factors? Or have residual finishing surfaces simply degraded past the point of un-assisted visual detection? This presentation will discuss how the combination of spectral imaging and elemental analysis can contribute to x-radiographic interpretations of non-ferrous finishing surfaces on archaeological iron and inform decisions as to the practical recovery of such surfaces. Tinned surfaces are fairly ubiquitous in the archaeological record and are frequently documented in x-radiographs. Actual recovery of these surfaces, however, is under-reported in academic literature. Due to the nature of tin corrosion and its products, tin-plate is often assumed to be a visually discrete, recoverable surface. This is an assumption seemingly supported by the presence of distinct areas of differential density known as ‘tinning lines’ on x-radiographs. However, the extent to which these lines reflect the actual condition of the underlying tinned surface and can predict the success of practical recovery is not well documented. This is especially true in the context of highly mineralized artifacts in which metallic tin may no longer exist. The aim of this project is to positively identify and characterize presumptive tinning surfaces on a highly-mineralized iron artifact using SEM-BEI imaging and SEM-EDX elemental analysis to corroborate x-radiographic and optical microscopy evidence of tinning. This project uses an archaeological wrought iron key dating from the late medieval period of the deserted English village of West Whelpington as its subject. Previous conservation indicates that the artifact was likely tinned. The validity of this identification is tested through a) producing an array of x-radiographs that explore variables, such as penetrative power, exposure time and geometry to confirm the presence of tinning lines, b) performing investigative cleaning via air abrasion to test recoverability of the layer based on x-radiographs, and c) sectioning the key and using spectral analysis techniques to better chemically and physically describe and corroborate the presumptive finishing surface. The presentation will also use SEM micrographs and SEM-EDX mapping to illustrate the distribution of highly mineralized tin layers in the corrosion matrix and discuss the extent to which these morphological changes can be detected in x-radiographs and used as signifiers of surface condition. Ultimately, this will prompt commentary as to what constitutes a recoverable surface and what factors a conservator will need to take into account, such as, stakeholders, work constraints, and artifact ‘value’, etc. when making decisions about whether or not to attempt recovery of a finishing surface that is analytically distinct but not necessarily visually or physically identifiable. Much like “all that is gold does not glitter” this paper will demonstrate that not all things of value are strictly material.

avatar for Michelle Crepeau

Michelle Crepeau

Conservator, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
Michelle Crepeau is a Master's degree recipient recently returned from studying abroad at Cardiff University, Wales, following the completion of an MSc. in Conservation Practice with a focus on archaeological and object conservation. She has additional undergraduate qualifications... Read More →

avatar for Nicola Emmerson

Nicola Emmerson

Lecturer in Conservation, Cardiff University, School of History, Archaeology and Religion
avatar for David Watkinson

David Watkinson

Professor (Conservation)/ Deputy Head of School, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University

Friday June 1, 2018 11:00am - 11:30am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects + Archaeological Conservation) Measuring the burial microenvironment on an archaeological site as an aid to the conservation management of artifacts in the museum
Preliminary results will be presented from an in-situ assessment of the chemical microenvironment of an Early Bronze Age site in Central Anatolia. The work involved assessing the pH, the redox potential and chloride ion activity and was carried out in August 2017 on the soil of the Kaman-Kalehöyük excavation site in Turkey of the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology to ascertain the changes that occur in the burial and post excavation environment. A chloride ion electrode, pH meter, and corrosion meters with appropriate reference electrodes and calibrating materials were used. Surface chloride and pH mapping was carried out on excavated copper alloy objects and correlated with the archaeological profiles and records. Initial measurements indicate that it will be possible to prepare a degradation and conservation index as part of a mechanism to determine on a systematic basis corrosion behavior and which objects are in greatest need of conservation intervention. Treatment priority score cards will be prepared based on the significance and conservation needs assessments.

avatar for Ian D. MacLeod

Ian D. MacLeod

Fellow, Western Australian Maritime Museum
Ian D. MacLeod completed his studies at the University of Melbourne in 1974 and did post-doctoral work at the University of Glasgow (Scotland) and Murdoch University (Perth, Australia). From 1978 he worked for the conservation department at the Western Australian Museum and developed... Read More →
avatar for Alice Boccia Paterakis

Alice Boccia Paterakis

Director of Conservation, Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology
A MAC graduate of the Queen’s University conservation program, Alice received her PhD in conservation from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, in 2011. She served as Director of Conservation for the Athenian Agora of the American School of Classical Studies... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 11:30am - 11:45am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston