42nd Annual Meeting – Joint Architecture and Objects Session, May 29, "The Cultural Production of Tourism at Lake Tahoe: Exploring How Cultural Heritage Preservation Is Impacted By Tourism," by Catherine Magee

This paper was a departure for a specialty group presentation in that it focused not on the conservation or technical study of material culture, but on the creation and consumption of cultural narratives and landscapes. Magee noted that conservation work informs and perpetuates stories about people, places, and things, and made the point that conservators are generally comfortable thinking about our work in the context of education, science, and academic scholarship. But she proposed the idea that we must also consider our role in the broader context of tourism, since the primary products of our work – conserved objects and sites – are most often intended for consumption by the general public, also known as tourists.
Her paper included a brief overview of tourism studies, examining the impact of tourism on different kinds of sustainability: economic, ecological, and cultural. The bulk of the paper was spent illustrating the latter point, looking at the ways tourism influences our perception of history and heritage by creating hybrid tourist/cultural heritage landscapes and influencing cultural memory.
Magee used two examples from her doctoral research, which focuses on the landscapes and material culture of the Washoe people in the Lake Tahoe area. The first example was Cave Rock, a pilgrimage site of major spiritual significance for the Washoe. The site was progressively destroyed by tourism, evolving from a culturally significant tourism site, to a pathway for a road, to a mecca for rock climbers. The second example focused on an iconic Washoe basket form, the degikup, and its most famous creator, Dat-So-La-lee. Magee examined the shared mythos of Dat-So-La-Lee and the degikup in detail, revealing the stories, and the basket form itself, to be products created for tourism.
The role of the conservator in shaping the destiny of a site like Cave Rock or the narrative surrounding iconic artifacts and artists like the degikup and Dat-So-La-Lee was not explicitly discussed. It’s not difficult, however, to imagine the complexity inherent in conservation decision-making for the kinds of tourist-hybridized sites, objects, and narratives explored in this paper. Magee argued that we conservators will discharge our responsibilities best if we develop a better awareness of our role in the cultural production of tourism. With that awareness, we can improve our agency in the process and generate better outcomes for sites, objects, and the communities we serve.

42nd Annual Meeting- OSG, May 31, "Restoration by Other Means: CT scanning and 3D Computer Modeling for the Re-Restoration of a Previously Restored Skull from the Magdalenian Era by J.P. Brown and Robert D. Martin"

After collaborating with JP at the Field Museum on rendering CT scans a few years ago and seeing his article about this work in the spring MRCG newsletter, I was excited to see some images about this in person. JP has been working with CT scanners since 2006 starting out by taking advantage of the kindness of local hospitals and more recently renting a portable unit that came to museum on a truck.
As many of us know, CT scanners can look inside objects non-destructively and provide accurate images with 3D geometric accuracy. JP started the talk be reviewing some of the physics of getting a CT scan done, the benefits, and limitations. Here’s a run-down:
1. The scanner has a donut shaped gantry consisting of a steel ring containing the X-ray tube and curved detector on the opposite side, so your object has to fit within the imaging area inside the steel ring.
2. On each revolution you get lots of images scanned within 30 seconds to 5 min- this is very fast.
3. The biggest logistical challenge is moving objects to and from the hospital safely.
4. During the scanning you immediately get slices, which are cross-section images from three different directions. Volumetric rendering  is done from the slices and there is free software for this.
5. Apparently it is relatively easy to do segmentation, segment out regions of interest, and extract wire frame models, just time consuming. From there you can get images of the surface and texture and can even print the models. It is relatively easy to go from slice to wireframe, but harder to achieve a manufacturing mesh to produce a 3D print, which can be expensive in comparison to traditional molding and casting.
6. PROs of scanning and printing: there is no contact with the object, complex geometry is not a problem, the scans and volumetric rendering are dimensionally accurate, you can print in lots of materials; prints can be scaled to make large things handleable or small things more robust for handling or increase visibility; subtractive manufacture, in which you can use a computerized milling machine to cut out a positive or negative, is also a possibility.
7. CONs of scanning and printing: printing is slow, the build volume is limited, a non-traditional skill set is required of conservators to produce the final product, and only a few materials age well. The best material is sintered nylon, extruded polyester may also be safe, but it doesn’t take paint well; it is hard to get the industry to think about permanence.
The object at the center of this project was a Magdalenian skull. The skeleton itself is of considerable importance, because it is the only magdalenian era skeleton of almost completion. A little history: it was excavated, quite professionally, in 1911 when they lowered the floor of the site. Unfortunately the burial was discovered when someone hit the skull with a pickax. Needless to say, the skull did not come out in one piece. In 1915 the full skeleton was removed in two blocks. My notes are a little fuzzy here, but basically at some point between the excavation the skull was restored and then went from being 2 pieces to 6 pieces, as it is documented in a 1932 publication by von Bonen. It appears that at that point the skull was also skin coated with plaster. Thankfully (?) those repairs have held up. Great, so why, did they need to scan and reconstruct the skull? Well according to Dr. Robert Martin, JP’s colleague at the Field Museum, the skull doesn’t look anatomically correct. Apparently during the time period when it was put together there was an interest in race and the skull fragments could have been lined up incorrectly accentuating cultural assumptions.

Previous condition documentation image
Previous condition documentation image

One image slice from the CT scan
One image slice from the CT scan

A previous x-ray showed that two fragments in the forehead are secured with a metal pin. In 2012, when the mobile CT scanner came to the museum, they were all geared up to start with the Magdalenian skull. Unfortunately there was not much difference in attenuation between bone and plaster making it tricky to define between the two materials in the scans. JP consulted a cranial reconstruction group and asked them to pretend this was a pediatric car crash victim with a cranial injury; they asked, why aren’t you using the mimics software package?
In this scanner, the object sits on a rotating table, while the source and detector stay still. Since these are fixed, a full scan has to be done in parts depending on the size of the object.
In this scanner, the object sits on a rotating table, while the source and detector stay still. Since these are fixed, a full scan has to be done in parts depending on the size of the objec

JP and his team also imaged the skull with a micro CT scan that has a 0.1 mm resolution versus the normal modern setting of 0.3 mm. They had previously identified 36 fragments of bone from the previous scan. It was hard to tell if some of those separations were just cracks or actual breaks between fragments. The hope was that the micro CT scanner could better define these areas. The micro CT scanner works opposite to the industrial/medical scanner. As you can see in the image to the left, the tube and detector are fixed, while the sample is rotated. Other differences are that it is slower, one scan takes 30-90 minutes and because of scanner geometry the skull had to be imaged in two scans . Because of this, JP used the previous scan to mill out a contoured support to hold the skull in the exact position. JP noted that digitally filling in the holes of the skull to create the support was the most time consuming part of that process and suggests using different radio-opaque marker dots to identify left and right for orientation during the later stitching process. With the new scans at least three separations were identified as cracks vs. breaks.
Now for the virtual reconstruction… the biggest obstacle in this stage was how to achieve something more anatomically correct using the virtual fragments when they have no boundaries. The fragments don’t push back in the computer- and the fragments can easily move into each other. With the software JP used mostly the translation and rotation functions and the free animation software Blender (which has a high learning curve and took several days to get accustomed to) to create hierarchical parent child relationships between the fragments as he joined them together. Just like putting a vessel together, right? In the virtual world at least there is no worry about lockout. They had a 3D printed of the final skull reconstruction and had an artist do facial reconstruction, which JP thinks always look related to Jean Luc Picard… So how successful was this? From a conservation perspective- awesome, it’s fully reversible! Scientifically though, it’s decent, well documented and scientifically justifiable- However, someone else could go through the same process and come up with a different reconstruction because of their reliance on left right symmetry for this reconstruction…
Creating the virtual reconstruction
Creating the virtual reconstruction

Comparison of the current restoration and the virtual restoration
Comparison of the current restoration (left) and the virtual restoration (right)

So what did I take away from this talk? This was a very cool project and if I have a question about CT scanning and 3D renderings, I will call JP! The scans can be extremely informational and there seems to be a lot of potential in their use for mount-making, crates, and storage, and possibly virtual reconstructions. Hopefully at some point in the future the software will become more intuitive and easier to use so that more of these types of projects can be done.

Call for Papers: ASOR 2014

“Conservation and Site Preservation in the Near East”
American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA, Westin Hotel, November 19-22, 2014
This session will be co-chaired by Suzanne Davis davissl@umich.edu and LeeAnn Barnes Gordon leeannbarnes@gmail.com. Please feel free to contact them to discuss possible paper proposals or to request further details regarding the session.
The goal of the session is to create a forum where archaeologists and conservators can share research, exchange ideas, and discuss issues impacting the conservation of Near Eastern artifacts and sites. Contributors’ presentations will examine regional and national trends in conservation as well as site-specific programs. Presenters will also consider how political instability and the need for economic development are impacting the preservation of archaeological heritage in the Near East. Generous discussion time will engage the contributors and the audience, creating a dialogue that will ultimately improve conservation of artifacts and sites in the Near East.
This session will be the third of four in a series on conservation at the ASOR annual meeting. To read AIC blog posts about previous sessions, follow these links: 2012 in Chicago, IL: http://bit.ly/1f0H2iL and 2013 in Baltimore, MD: http://bit.ly/1mmiAgU.  The ASOR annual meeting also features sessions on cultural heritage management, ethics and policy, and museum collections, in addition to sessions focused on archaeology and site preservation in specific geographical regions. The full list of sessions for 2014 can be found here: http://www.asor.org/am/index.html
Interested speakers should submit a talk title and abstract (max. 250 words) by February 15th via ASOR’s online abstract submission system, a link to which can be found here http://www.asor.org/am/2014/call-2.html. Membership in ASOR is required for submission. 

Archaeological Conservation at ASOR 2013

Three weeks ago LeeAnn Barnes Gordon and I co-chaired a conservation session at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) in Baltimore, MD.  Friends, I loved every minute of it.
This year the session, titled “Conservation and Site Preservation in the Near East,” kicked off at 8:20 in the morning on the very first day of the conference.  We were concerned about the early start time, but attendance was good and the audience was engaged and responsive. This was the second in series of 4 planned sessions, and I’ll tell you about our lofty goals for the series a bit later. First, here are the 6 papers from this year, with a few notes from me about each:
Preserving Egypt’s Cultural Heritage: Experiences Gained and Lessons Learnt”
Michael Jones (Antiquities Conservation Project, American Research Center in Egypt)

I was surprised to learn in this talk that ARCE’s fantastically comprehensive conservation and education programs in Egypt, underwritten by USAID, all began as a simple salvage response to the deadly 1992 earthquake. Michael spoke about building stakeholder support for conservation in Egypt, about the challenges of recent political turmoil, and showed us the wonderful results of conservation efforts at the Red Monastery in Sohag, among other sites. If you don’t know much about ARCE and its conservation programs, read more here.

Training for the Conservation and Management of In Situ Mosaics: The MOSAIKON Initiative”
Leslie Friedman (Getty Conservation Institute), Jeanne Marie Teutonico (GCI), Kathleen Dardes (GCI), Thomas Roby (GCI)and Zaki Aslan (ICCROM)

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about mosaics preservation, MOSAIKON is improving and teaching it. How to do a great job with locally available materials? They’re on it. Training for the next generation in-country? That, too. Conservation education in Arabic? Yes! Mentoring for conservators in the Middle East? Of course. What about my favorite site preservation solution, reburial? They’re studying the most effective ways to do it for mosaics. And of course, they are producing publications about it all. Check it out here.

Digging on the Edge: Archaeology and Conservation at Kourion, Cyprus”
William Weir (University of Cincinnati), paper delivered by Stephen Humphreys

This site-specific case-study delivered great information and dramatic visuals of mosaics perched precariously on cliff-edge. It detailed, from the archaeologists’ perspective, the experience of working with conservators to document and save mosaics at a site. It also illustrated the complexities of conservation at archaeological sites; within a single site, the response to each mosaic differed depending on the mosaic’s location, construction, and the project’s ongoing research. A great talk illustrating successful collaboration in archaeological conservation and research.

Painted Roman and Byzantine Cypriot Tombs: Properties, Processes and Preservation”
Ioanna Kakoulli (University of California, Los Angeles), Christian Fischer  (UCLA), and Demetrios Michaelides (University of Cyprus) 

This was an excellent talk for anyone interested in conservation of wall-paintings; these Cypriot rock-cut tombs have undergone structural damage from shifting bedrock and water damage from floods and rainfall. Ioanna also discussed the technical analysis of plaster, pigments, and binders for the paintings. This talk was also great for anyone interested in preservation and management of active tourism and pilgrimage sites: littering, vandalism, education and interpretation! How about making your conservation plan work for nearby hotels as well as an active monastery? Done. This talk detailed a comprehensive approach to a complex series of problems.

Dilemmas in Preservation of Iron Age Sites in the Valley of Beer-sheba”
Zeev Herzog (Tel Aviv University)

Zeev’s talk beautifully, and humorously, detailed the decades-long effort to preserve mud-brick architecture at the site of Beer-sheba in Israel. An unusually inventive series of campaigns beginning in the 1960’s tried almost everything the determined teams could think of: chemical consolidation, firing the bricks in-situ with a portable kiln, capping the walls with new mudbricks, and, finally, capping and restoration with modern, fired bricks. In addition to illustrating a half-century of conservation and site preservation at a single site, this talk explored preservation and interpretation goals for important Iron Age sites in Israel.  

The Conservation and Technical Analysis of Ancient Near Eastern Objects at the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum”
Sanchita Balachandran (Johns Hopkins University)

As a conservator in a university archaeological museum, I’m always impressed by the JHU Archaeological Museum’s (and Sanchita’s) commitment to linking conservation to undergraduate teaching and using object-based projects to improve learning for students. This talk was especially useful because it had detailed case-studies of specific objects and projects. I especially liked the way Sanchita used these projects to develop transferable skills like observation and critical thinking for her students.

Back to our lofty goals – LeeAnn and I began this series of sessions with the goal of fostering collaboration and better integrating continuing education in the allied disciplines of conservation and archaeology. We want to bring more conservation information to our archaeology colleagues, and we hope to promote archaeology meetings as a forum for conservators.  So far each session has been an excellent educational opportunity for us, and we hope our audiences have felt the same way. We’re grateful to our speakers in both years thus far and to ASOR for embracing the series.
Archaeological conservators, we hope you’ll join us for future meetings in San Diego (2014) and Atlanta (2015).  If you’re willing to contribute to conservation sessions at either meeting, please write us! We’d love to hear from you. The deadline to submit abstracts for 2014 is February 15.
Suzanne Davis: davissl@umich.edu
LeeAnn Barnes Gordon: leeannbarnes@gmail.com

41st Annual Meeting – Objects Session May 31, “Bringing History to Life: Reproducing a Worthington Steam Pump from the USS Monitor” by William Hoffman, The Mariners’ Museum

Pump (2)
One of the most remarkable things about the field of Conservation is its ability to bring together art and science, cutting edge technology and time-honored skills to preserve original historic or artistic works while gaining new insights into how they were produced and making them more accessible to everyone.
These aims seem very much at the heart of the remarkable project presented by William Hoffman in his paper which described the process of studying the manufacturing techniques of a Worthington steam pump excavated from the shipwreck of the historic ironclad USS Monitor which sank in 1862 and building a full scale working replica.
The two original Worthington steam powered water pumps from the Monitor, the earliest known examples of their type, are in remarkable condition considering the nearly 140 years spent in a marine archaeological context before their recovery in 2001. The pumps are nearly finished conservation and will be placed on display at the Mariners’ Museum USS Monitor Center, but the extensive corrosion of the cast iron and copper alloy parts has left them in a fragile condition.   The project began to take shape out of the desire to convey the original movement and function of the object to the public in a way which was far more immediate than a computer simulation could achieve alone.   I thought this seemed intriguing, and particularly poignant in a digital age when high quality digital renderings have become omnipresent.
Hoffman explained that by conserving, studying and documenting the evidence of the original materials and the molding, metal casting, fabrication, and machining processes used, an approach to making the replica was formulated, using a combination of traditional technical and art metal casting techniques, and the use of modern 3D scanning, CAD, and 3D FDM (force deposition modelling) printing techniques to aid in the pattern and mold making.  No less important is the final machining of the parts, made easier by the use of modern computer driven CNC tooling.  The resulting replica is well underway and it’s hoped that the fully working replica will be operational in the near future.
Hoffman’s talk was very engaging and made use of digital drawings, animations, and video footage of the replication process, all of which helped to relate a detailed process in a way which was easy for the audience to follow.  The enthusiasm of the author and the team of conservators, museum staff, volunteer researchers, 3D scanning and printing specialists, metal casters, machinists, and industry representatives who had helped to make the project a reality came through clearly, as did the high level of interest in the use of the replica pump for multiple educational programs, highlighting the need for conservation of our shared heritage and the information and experiences it can bring to light.

41st Annual Meeting – Research and Technical Studies Session, May 31, “Examination, Technical Study, and Treatment of Funerary Stelae from the Roman-Egyptian Site of Ternouthis” by Caroline Roberts, LeeAnn Barnes Gordon, and Cathy Selvius DeRoo

Caroline (Carrie) Roberts presented an interesting talk about a multi-year collaborative project that demonstrates the real impact that surveys and technical studies can have on collections. In less than two years, the authors were able to survey a collection of 200 limestone stelae, assign treatment priorities, identify the agents of deterioration, suggest environmental guidelines, carry out treatments, and develop an informed treatment protocol.
The project began with the survey of the collection of limestone stelae by then 3rd year intern LeeAnn Barnes Gordon and continued as part of Carrie Roberts’ fellowship project at the Kelsey Museum. LeeAnn and Carrie collaborated with scientists in analytical laboratories at the University of Michigan and at the Detroit institute of Arts, including co-author Cathy Selvius DeRoo. Through their hard work and successful collaborations, the authors were able to accomplish an impressive amount and significantly improve the condition and long-term preservation of this invaluable collection.
Carrie first introduced the history of this collection of funerary stelae excavated in 1935 from the Roman-Egyptian site of Terenouthis. You can find some of this info on the Kelsey website here… and here:

KM 21069: Limestone Stele of Sarapous Terenouthis, Egypt (http://www.umich.edu/~kelseydb/Exhibits/Death_on_Display/Text/stele.html)

She then spoke about the condition issues identified during the survey, which included stone delamination, surface powdering, biological staining, and peeling, darkened coatings. There were several types of salt efflorescence present including spiky salt crystals and more round gypsum like-salts. Spot tests identified chlorides and sulfates. Interestingly, research conducted into the archival holdings of the museum produced some incredibly relevant information regarding the past treatment of the pieces. A transcribed 1941 lecture by the archaeologist indicated that Duco cement was used to stabilize the stelae as they were excavated. The presence of cellulose nitrate was later confirmed using FTIR on samples of the darkened and peeling coatings.
As a result of the survey, approximately ¼ of the collection was determined to be high priority for treatment. These stelae received further study to characterize the deterioration and identify a treatment protocol. Testing was carried out using a barrage of analytical techniques including FTIR, XRF, XRD, specimen culturing and DNA analysis. The results allowed identification of soluble salts (calclacite- a calcium chloride acetate salt produced from interactions with offgasing materials + halide salts), characterization of stone properties (clay component within limestone- possibly responsible for delamination), and ID of the biological growth (black staining identified by DNA as Epicoccum nigrum of the class dothideomycetes, lichen not identified- no DNA present).
The treatment protocol that was developed through testing included:
-Consolidation of the limestone with CaLoSil (150nm particles of lime hydrate Ca(OH)2) in n-propanol. Testing was conducted using CaLoSil, Paraloid B-72, and Conservare (Ethyl silicate) consolidants. CaLoSil was most successful as it reduced powdering after 1 application without darkening stone. It is presumed to penetrate deep into the stone due to the small (nano) particle size.
-Structural stabilization using Paraloid B-72 (in 85:15 ethanol/acetone) injected into delaminating cracks. Not many of the stelae had extensive delamination but Paraloid B-72 was found to successfully stabilize cracks and areas beginning to delaminate.
-Desalination by poulticing with Arbocel paper pulp. This method was considered challenging/problematic and so the environmental controls were considered the best method of preventing future problems from soluble salts
-Coating reduction was accomplished by applying acetone followed by blotting.
-Biological staining was reduced by swabbing with ethanol; however, this was not found to be fully effective.
-Environmental parameters were set based on the equilibrium RH of the identified salts. The recommendation was to stay below 75% humidity, which is the equilibrium of halide salt and below that of calclacite (79%).
Carrie finished with some questions for future research, including: how is the CaLoSil distributed in the limestone after consolidation? What is the nature of the clay component in the limestone? What are the possibilities for reduction of the biological staining? And what is the best method for treating the stelae that had been stabilized with cyclododecane in 2009 when the collection was relocated to the current storage area.
Overall a very informative talk that hopefully will inspire similar in-depth survey and treatment projects!

AIC’s 39th Annual Meeting- Joint Objects and Archaeological Discussion Group Session, June 2, “Get Your Fieldwork for Nothin’ and Your Sherds for Free: Compensation for Archaeological Field Conservators,” Suzanne Davis and Claudia Chemello

Just what does an ‘80s rock band have to do with conservation?  Quite a bit, according to Claudia Chemello and Suzanne Davis, Conservators at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, who gave a talk titled: “Get Your Fieldwork for Nothin’ and Your Sherds for Free: Compensation for Archaeological Field Conservation.”  The title refers to the Dire Straits song “Money for Nothing”, which proved an excellent inverse parallel for the Qualtrics survey Claudia and Suzanne conducted, the findings of which they presented in this talk.  For context, you might want to go ahead and watch the music video for this song before reading the rest of this blog entry: Money for Nothin’

Claudia and Suzanne started this project with three hypotheses:

  1. Most conservators working on archaeological sites are not paid
  2. For those who are paid, there is no standard
  3. Most conservators are unhappy with the current state of compensation.

Happily, their first hypothesis turned out to be false: 82% of the conservators surveyed are paid something.  Of the respondents who did not get paid, the highest percentage (33%) said that the project was not able to pay a conservator, but, interestingly, did pay other professional staff; this slide is appropriately accompanied by a photograph from 1920 of a young volunteer on site in Syria who says: “Get your money for nothin’ and your chicks for free?”.  69% of the conservators who were paid also volunteered on other projects, and they did so for several reasons: they wanted to help a project with a small budget, they wanted to gain experience, or simply because they enjoy it.  I think its safe to say that many of us in the audience, myself included, have done some amount of unpaid conservation work—in the field or out of the field—for one or more of those reasons.

Although only 50 of the 116 responders used for analysis provided salary data, the information given by these 50 professionals proved that the authors’ second hypothesis is correct: there does not appear to be a standard salary for field conservators.  Indeed, the salaries provided varied rather dramatically, ranging from $58 per week to $8,000 per week!  The mean salary was $946 a week, the median $563, and the mode $1,000.   The difference between the very low minimum salary and very high maximum salary is partially based on the experience of the conservator: the person making the highest salary was very experienced and provided a number of services other than conservation treatment.

Claudia and Suzanne reported a number of other interesting statistics: 44% of the responders have only 0-5 years of experience (perhaps this explains the relatively low median salary?); 72% of those paid were paid by archaeological projects and 68% of these conservators were compensated based on the project’s budget (“are we letting projects determine what we’re paid?”); and a rather surprising 22% of respondents did not provide their projects with a written report (yikes!).  The survey yielded many other interesting results, too many for a single blog post, and I look forward to re-visiting them in the Postprints.

In the end, it turns out that only 41% of the respondents are satisfied with their current state of compensation—proving the authors’ third hypothesis to be more or less correct.  Claudia and Suzanne hope that the data obtained in this survey will be used for the following purposes: in salary discussions with dig directors and employers; to educate dig directors about the number and value of the services provided for their projects; to encourage conservators not writing reports to do so; and to advocate for an appropriate conservation budget from the beginning of the grant-writing process.  The authors told the audience to feel empowered to challenge the statement: “everyone on my project works for free”.   This fascinating (and entertaining) talk certainly emphasized the importance of communication and outreach, essential topics that have been highlighted by many of the speakers in this meeting.

39th Annual Meeting-OSG, June 1st, Panel Discussion on Ethical Issues in Archaeological Field Conservation

What are the ethical issues that archaeological conservators face in the field? This was the topic of a panel discussion held at the start of the OSG sessions focusing on archaeological conservation. It was organized by the Archaeological Discussion Group co-chairs Claudia Chemello and Susanne Grieve and the OSG program chair Sanchita Balachandran. Four archaeological conservators were invited to talk about some of the issues they face when working on site. The speakers, Angelyn Bass Rivera, Rae Beaubien, Eric Nordgren and Nancy Odegaard, all have different areas of specialization and were able to talk about a broad range of ethical issues that they have encountered in the work that they do.

The first speaker was Angelyn Bass Rivera, a conservator in private practice who specializes in wall paintings and built heritage. She presented 3 case studies and described the issues that she encountered working to preserve hominid track ways at Laetoli , murals at the Mayan site of San Bartolo and at Frijoles Canyon Cataes at Bandelier National Monument. All sites suffered from environmental degradation because they were outdoors, but there also seemed to be larger administrative issues affecting them. Issues such as the need for tourism to a site and its impact in the case of Laeotoli, or the issue of inadequate funding for conservation on archaeological excavations can also affect the preservation of these sites.

Rae Beaubien, archaeological conservator at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) talked about her experiences working in the field with archaeologists. At sites where there hadn’t been a history of conservation prior to her working there, she was able to come in and establish the protocol for processing finds. She could also forge the idea that archaeologists and conservators should work together from the start. Her work at MCI, where she was able to create an archaeological conservation internship program, allowed her to continue establishing these collaborations and emphasizing their importance in the field.

Rae then went on to discuss some of the items in AIC’s Codes of Ethics that stood out as important to those working in the field. The first was the issue of stewardship and the preservation of collection, where in the field, conservators are responsible for taking care of the entire collection. She then discussed the idea of operating within the expertise of the person charged with doing the work. She felt that in a museum or institution, it was possible to find a specialist or expert for different aspects of conservation or preservation. In the field, however, you are sometimes asked to work outside of your area. Because finding and paying for these specialists or experts is difficult, often the conservator will have to take on additional responsibilities and in those situations, you just do the best you can. Her final point was for those conservators working in the field to be aware of the laws and regulations of each country they work in in regards to antiquities, especially for unprovenanced material. She ended with the idea whether our work in a country brings unwanted attention to a site and once we leave, how do we protect the site.

Leaving the discussion of terrestrial sites, Eric Nordgren, conservator at Queen Anne’s Revenge Shipwreck Project, talked to us about some of the issues conservators of maritime artifacts face, both practical and ethical. In the case of practical, the size of some of the objects brought up from the sea and the size of tanks or equipment needed for their storage and treatment pose a problem. He stressed the importance of long term planning to provide funding and equipment/materials to undertake the conservation and long term preservation of these materials.

In regards to ethical issues, the largest one faced is where artifacts are recovered without following ethical guidelines and work is carried out by treasure hunters or salvage crews. The question is, what do we do about this? Eric’s suggestion is to work with these groups of people, in addition to other professionals involved in maritime archaeology such as boat captains, riggers, etc. to educate them about conservation and have them understand how they can do their work following ethical guidelines. His final point was if we should think about the larger question of whether we even need to excavate these underwater sites anymore and how well can they be documented without excavation.

The final panel speaker was Nancy Odegaard, conservator at the Arizona State Museum, who was asked to speak about her experiences working with human remains. The Arizona State Museum issues permits for excavations and the policy is that if remains are found, the excavation has 48 hours to get someone out there to identify the remains and determine whether they are human. When found, human remains are not excavated in the Southwest. They are not disturbed, unlike in other areas where the remains are exposed, removed and can be sampled/examined/analyzed/reconstructed. She also mentioned that this summer she will be reburying human remains and artifacts that are currently at the museum.

After each speaker presented, the floor was opened for discussion and questions. One of the issues that kept recurring both in the panel presentation and discussion was how to get archaeologists and conservators to work together, particularly in the US. Rae mentioned that in some countries permits and regulations for excavations are centralized so there is common governing body and regulation to guide archaeologists. There are countries that do require archaeologists to work with conservators and having centralized regulations makes enforcing this easier. This is not the case in the US. Rae suggested having conservators go to archaeological conferences to present their research and integrate themselves into archaeology. Training archaeology students about conservation also helps because you get them to understand early in their career about the importance of conservation and working with conservators. Also writing grants to fund conservation on sites from the same sources that archaeologists use and including this as part of the archaeologist’s funding process for their project also helps.

The issue was raised in the question portion about non-conservators treating materials, especially in the case of maritime archaeology. Eric Nordgren had touched upon that in his presentation and addressed this again in the discussion. He brought up the point that often because of the need to recover these types of items and the need for immediate treatment, archaeologists often do the work themselves. The work of non-conservators preserving maritime sites and the issues of working with them was also brought up in paper presented in the OSG session following the luncheon by Susanne Grieve. It seems that the issue of non-conservators treating archaeological materials and how we should deal with them is something that needs further discussion in the specialization of archaeological conservation.

The final point brought up in the discussion session was of conservators working on unprovenanced materials. Museums have protocols for dealing with these, but should conservators have protocols or guidelines on how to deal with these materials. There was not enough time to have a full discussion of this at the luncheon, but it is an important point that was brought up and one I’m sure will be discussed in more depth in the future.

This luncheon introduced us to some of the issues, both ethical and practical, that archaeological conservators face in the field. It also led to discussions about larger issues of funding and allocation of resources for conservation, how to better integrate with archaeologists, working with non-conservators and other professionals and the ethics of dealing with unprovenanced material. Though no clear answers could be given for how to deal with some of these items, it did provide some interesting discussions and reminded everyone about the complexities of conserving material in the field. I think we all left with many issues to think about that certainly should be further discussed in future annual meetings.