Archaeological Institute of America 2013-2014 Conservation Workshop Summaries and Proceedings Now Available Online

We are very pleased to announce that summaries of two interdisciplinary workshops on the integration of conservation and archaeology are now available on the website of the Archaeological Institute of America at
The publications include full transcripts of the panel presentations and panel discussions, as well as summaries of the key points of both workshops. The workshops were organized by conservators Claudia Chemello, Thomas Roby, Steve Koob and Alice Boccia Paterakis, and were presented in 2013 and 2014 at the AIA’s annual meeting.
The 2013 workshop Integrating Conservation and Archaeology: Exploration of Best Practices brought together conservators and archaeologists for a dialogue about the integration of conservation and field archaeology. Panelists shared their experiences on what constitutes responsible conservation, preservation, and stewardship of archaeological resources. The panel discussed move­able and immoveable cultural heritage, including terrestrial and maritime archaeological sites.
Panelists were C. Brian Rose, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Giorgio Buccellati, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of Los Angeles, Matthew Adams, Institute of Fine Arts, New York Uni­versity, Robert Neyland, Underwater Archaeology Branch, U.S. Navy, Alice Boccia Paterakis, Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology, Kaman-Kalehöyük, Kırşehir, Turkey, Paul Mardikian, H.L. Hunley Project, Clemson University, and Thomas Roby, Getty Conservation Institute.
The 2014 workshop Interdisciplinary Studies: Archaeology and Conservation comprised archaeologists and conservators heavily involved in educational efforts in their respective disciplines and discussed the subject of the cross-education of both fields and the need for interdisciplinary studies.
Panelists were C. Brian Rose, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology University of Pennsylvania, Frank Matero, University of Pennsylvania, John Papadopoulos, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California Los Angeles, Ioanna Kakoulli, UCLA/Getty Program on the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials & Materials Science and Engineering Department, Kent Severson, Shangri La Center for Islamic Arts and Cultures, Christopher Ratté, University of Michigan, John Merkel, University College London, and Elizabeth Pye, University College London.
We gratefully acknowledge our workshop sponsors: the AIA Conservation and Site Preservation Committee, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (2013). The GCI also provided support for panelist travel and the production of the transcripts of the workshop proceedings
Posted on behalf of Claudia Chemello, Thomas Roby, Steve Koob, and Alice Paterakis
This post is promoted by the AIC’s Archaeological Discussion Group (ADG).  For more information about ADG, please visit ADG’s webpage.” ( )

New Archaeological Conservation Workshop at the Annual Meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research

Conservation Workshop ASOR 2012

We (LeeAnn Barnes Gordon and Suzanne Davis) are pleased to announce a new conservation workshop session at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR). This year’s session will be held on Friday, Nov. 16th from 4:20 – 6:25 pm at the Chicago Marriot Downtown Magnificent Mile, and we would like to encourage Chicago-area conservators to join us for what promises to be an interesting and constructive afternoon.

The workshop, Archaeological Conservation Strategies in the Near East, aims to foster collaboration and promote information sharing among conservators and archaeologists working in the Near East. Contributors will present multi-disciplinary projects and research on archaeological heritage from Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and Iraq. Topics examined will include regional trends in conservation, balancing preservation and access, site management, treatments of challenging materials, and collaborations with local conservation and archaeological communities. A moderated discussion will engage the contributors as well as the audience, creating an ongoing dialogue that we hope will ultimately improve preservation for archaeological materials and sites in the Near East.

The first two presentations of the session will focus on site work. Hiroko Kariya will discuss the Luxor Temple Fragment Conservation Project, which includes the documentation, treatment, and monitoring of tens of thousands of sandstone fragments.  Kariya’s presentation will address two particularly challenging aspects of the project: the protection of a massive number of semi-portable, inscribed fragments and providing accessibility to the collection on site for a high volume of visitors. In the following presentation, “Getting What You Came For: Conservation and Research at Tel Kedesh, Israel,” Suzanne Davis will demonstrate how on-site conservation activities can successfully contribute to archaeological research. This talk will also introduce the important discussion topic of how to balance the expectations of local conservation and archaeological authorities with the on-the-ground realities and priorities of international project teams.

Case studies presented by Krysia Spirydowicz and Catherine Foster will discuss the challenges of preserving two exceptional and fragile archaeological collections. Spirydowicz will outline the methods used to conserve ornate, wooden furniture from the royal tombs at Gordion. This presentation will highlight the difficulties of preserving ancient wooden objects, while addressing the particular conservation problems posed by the charred and fragmentary Gordion furniture. The focus of Foster’s talk will be the preservation of the Nimrud ivories, which resulted from a joint Iraq-U.S. project undertaken at the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil (the Institute). The project initiated a program of conservation and improved display of the famous ivories, as well as provided training to Iraqi conservation professionals. The final presentation by Vicki Cassman will elaborate on the history and goals of the Iraqi Institute. Institute participants receive training by international conservation experts, as part of an effort to build a sustainable conservation community that will serve preservation needs at sites and museums throughout Iraq.

This workshop session will be held at the 2012 ASOR Annual Meeting on Friday, Nov. 16th from 4:20 – 6:25 pm.

To learn more about ASOR and/or to register for the 2012 Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, please visit the ASOR website at

Conservation Workshop ASOR 2012

Objects Conservation: Wiki Month

I would like to thank the OSG members who have come forward to volunteer their help during our January Wiki Edit-a-Thon. The event will come to an end on Wednesday next week, but I hope that this is just the beginning of a revived interest in the wiki.

The articles that you see right now on the Objects Wiki are works in progress. These drafts are just the seeds of what these articles will eventually become with the support of our OSG community.  If you would like to get involved, please contact our AIC e-Editor, Rachael Perkins Arenstein, with your area of interest.

This month a new article on “Glass” was started, as a collaboration with professors, professional conservators, and the 1st year conservation students in the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program’s Class of 2014. This highlights the potential for us to work in teams to begin and continue entries. Furthermore, it exemplifies one way that emerging conservators and training programs can get involved with the wiki. The potential for mentorship and learning is endless, and includes opportunities for specialists and non-specialists alike.

Here are a few highlights of the progress made on the Objects Specialty Group Conservation Catalog Wiki this month:

*We’ve reached our goal of increasing the total number of OSG members with wiki creator status.

*New and improved guides make it easier to contribute with help on getting started, formatting, and templates.

*There is more consistent information content and standardized headings between the articles; with much thanks to previous AND new contributors who have volunteered to upgrade articles to follow the new templates and guides.

*New articles are underway on the following topics: ceramics, feathers, glass, horn, metals, stone, ethnographic materials, outdoor sculpture, setting up a lab, magnetic mounts, and archaeological materials.

So, what are you waiting for? We need your help!

LeeAnn Barnes Gordon

OSG committee chair for the AIC Wiki


AIC’s 39th Annual Meeting- Objects Session, June 3, “Balancing Ethics and Restoration in the Conservation Treatment of an 18th Century Sewing Box with Tortoiseshell Veneer,” by Lori Trusheim.

Trusheim’s presentation clearly guided listeners through the processes involved with the treatment of a sewing box in a private collection. This talk addressed the main conference theme of the AIC meeting and explored how the Code of Ethics can be applied to aid treatment decisions. I particularly enjoyed how thoroughly Trusheim outlined the steps involved with procuring replacement materials, as well as how the owner’s expectations have influenced the treatment.


39th Annual Meeting- Objects Morning Session, June 3, “Treatment of Donald Judd’s Untitled 1997: Retention of Original Acrylic Sheets,” by Eleonora Nagy, Bettinal Landgrebe, and Shelley M. Smith.

This talk outlined a treatment that overcame current assumptions and preconceptions regarding the conservation and restoration of Judd’s minimalist sculptures. The presenter, Eleonora Nagy, introduced a newly devised conservation treatment carried out on Untitled 1997, which enabled conservators to retain the original acrylic sheets that are integral to the work. I had no idea that these sheets were so often completely replaced in traditional restoration treatments of Judd’s work. This treatment was elegantly explained from start to finish, illustrated with excellent photographs of all stages of the work. A comprehensive outline is provided in the AIC program abstracts. I really enjoyed the thorough approach that was taken in order to research Judd’s fabrication methods and materials, available sources of replacement materials, and ultimate sensitivity to the authenticity of the original materials.


39th Annual Meeting- Archaeological Discussion Group Business Session, June 2

The Archaeological Discussion Group (ADG), a working group of the Objects Specialty Group, has maintained a presence at the AIC annual meetings since 1998. This year’s meeting had roughly 25 people in attendance and was co-chaired by Susanne Grieve and Claudia Chemello. It began with an official review and approval of the 2010 meeting minutes. Conversation quickly moved to the content of the new ADG page found on the AIC website. A small group volunteered and was selected to compile a concise ADG mission statement.

The atmosphere of the meeting was casual despite being fast-paced. A series of “outreach tools” were discussed including the ADG webpage. Vanessa Muros, who is organizing the webpage, announced that she is accepting submissions of photographs of archaeological conservation to use on the page. AIC (through the ADG) is participating in “booth swaps” with the Archaeological Institute of America for the organizations’ respective annual meetings. Future booth swaps with the SAA and SHA organizations are also being considered. The ADG group hopes to create brochures/handouts to use as part of the ADG’s booth content at AIA starting next January 2012. This year’s “Day of Archaeology” is July 29th, and participation is open to all who work, study, or volunteer in archaeology including specialists like conservators – so check it out and contribute if you can!

Social media was discussed briefly, and the general consensus was that sites such as Facebook or Twitter are preferred platforms for general information for the public, while the wikis should be reserved for professional content. The group encourages fellow archaeological conservators to create and/or edit Wikipedia and Preservapedia entries on “archaeological conservation”. There was talk of using the AIC wiki page to organize a list of currently practicing archaeological conservators that work in the field. This would provide a way for conservators to connect with each other, and the co-chairs agreed that they would move forward with organizing such a feature on the wiki. The group is also concerned with making it easier for archaeologists to connect with conservators. To this end, it was agreed that the “Find a Conservator”[6] tool on the AIC website could be improved to include a checkbox for archaeological conservation fieldwork. However, this tool is only available for AIC members with Professional Associate or Fellow status and will thus be restricted to a large percentage of archaeological conservators who work in the field who do not yet qualify for this status.

The ADG group is considering an additional format to future meetings at the AIC annual conferences that would facilitate more interaction among those in attendance. The general concept would be a forum for interested individuals to share a brief overview of current fieldwork or projects. It might be modeled on “lightening-round” discussions where each speaker has ~5 minutes to summarize their work. I think this would be a great idea if there were enough time. Another idea might be an activity similar to the “tips” sessions that other specialty groups conduct at their meetings.