1st Edition

Studies in Archaeological Conservation

Edited By Chris Caple, Vicky Garlick Copyright 2021
    290 Pages 74 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    290 Pages 74 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Studies in Archaeological Conservation features a range of case studies that explore the techniques and approaches used in current conservation practice around the world and, taken together, provide a picture of present practice in some of the world-leading museums and heritage organisations.

    Archaeological excavations produce thousands of corroded and degraded fragments of metal, ceramic, and organic material that are transformed by archaeological conservators into the beautiful and informative objects that fill the cases of museums. The knowledge and expertise required to undertake this transformation is demonstrated within this book in a series of 26 fascinating case studies in archaeological conservation and artefact investigation, undertaken in laboratories around the world. These case studies are contextualised by a detailed introductory chapter, which explores the challenges presented by researching and conserving archaeological artefacts and details how the case studies illustrate the current state of the subject.

    Studies in Archaeological Conservation is the first book for over a quarter of a century to show the range and diversity of archaeological conservation, in this case through a series of case studies. As a result, the book will be of great interest to practising conservators, conservation students, and archaeologists around the world.

    List of Figures

    Dedication to Holly Marston



    List of Contributors


    1.1 Introduction, Chris Caple – The Challenges of Archaeological Conservation


    Case Studies


    Stone & Plaster

    2.1 Bibi Beekman - The Conservation of a Viking Age Sculpture from York

    2.2 Dipika Nadkarni – A Plaster Cast of a Mesopotamian Lioness from the Durham Oriental Museum

    2.3 Lauren Piper - The Conservation of an Egyptian Rock Crystal Dish

    2.4 Rhian Ward – The Conservation of a Fossil Suffering from Pyrite Decay


    Ceramics & Glass

    3.1 Hanna Bristow - Retreatment of an Archaeological Glass Beaker

    3.2 Sara Gibson – Pierced Bronze Age Ceramic Vessel from Jericho

    3.3 Tabatha Barton – Conservation of a Late Parthian-Early Sasanian Vessel

    3.4 Maja Bolle - Conservation of an Archaic Cuneiform Tablet from Babylonia

    3.5 Abby Moore – Boat Model Masthead in Faience



    4.1 Bethan N. Bryan - Copper Alloy Objects Suspected of Bronze Disease: The Burrell Bronzes

    4.2 Erik Farrell - Economy and Decision Making in the use of Benzotriazole

    4.3 Fiona Jeffrey – Button from the River Wear, Durham

    4.4 Alistair Threlfall - Cleaning, Consolidating and Reassembly of a Fragmentary Copper Alloy Object

    4.5 Gary Bankhead – A Late-Medieval Pectoral Cross Pilgrim Sign from the River Wear, Durham

    4.6 Charlotte E. Wilkinson – Conservation of a Pewter Dish from the wreck of the ‘Coronation’

    4.7 Matthew Walker – The Conservation of Three 16th Century Archaeological Iron Keys


    Organics: Wood, Textiles, Leather

    5.1 Holly Marston – Interventive Conservation of a Waterlogged Wooden Bucket

    5.2 Erik Farrell - Re-treatment of a Marine Archaeological Leather Shoe

    5.3 Bibi Beekman – The Conservation of 38 Birch Bark Rolls from Star Carr

    5.4 Maja Bolle - Investigation of a Charred Wooden Torso from Uruk

    5.5 Katie Snow - Re-storage of Archaeological Textiles at the Museum of London

    5.6 Susannah R. Bartindale – Conservation and Repackaging of a Collection of Coptic Textiles


    Bone & Composite - Display

    6.1 Jenny Ellison – Conservation Project: the Stengade Double Grave, Langeland Museum, Denmark

    6.2 Cedeem Richardson - Conservation of Two World War I Rifles and a Military Equipment Belt

    6.3 Eleanor Nethaway – Conservation of a Roman Skeleton

    6.4 Ellie Rowley-Conwy - Treatment of a Block Lifted Chicken Skeleton


    Chris Caple is Emeritus Reader in Conservation in the Department of Archaeology at Durham University, UK.

    Vicky Garlick is an Assistant Teaching Fellow and Conservator in the Department of Archaeology at Durham University, UK.