Lourdes and Friederike provide expertise in artifact conservation.

You may have noticed in my last post that the coin in the photograph was clean, even if it was old, worn, and hard to read. Of course, artifacts don’t come out of the ground looking that good. At Ziyaret Tepe, we have two trained¬†artifact conservators who spend endless hours mechanically cleaning, stablizing, chemically treating, and restoring artifacts so they are ready for study and display. Theirs is one of the most technical and challenging fields of archaeology.

We have two excellent professional¬†artifact conservators, both experienced team members at Ziyaret Tepe. Lourdes Mesa Garcia (above in our conservation laboratory) works as a freelance conservator out of Madrid, Spain and has worked at a number of sites. Most recently, she was¬†senior Conservator for the “Colossi of Memnon Conservation Project of Amenhotep III Temple” in Egypt.

Friederike is cleaning the fibula under the microscope. Bronze requires specialist treatment to stop active corrosion ("bronze rot") and to stabilize the material once excavated.

Friederike Moll-Dau (above) works as a freelance conservator at different institutions in Germany and most recently spend a long period as Conservator at the China Project of the Romisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum of Mainz, Germany. This was collaborative project between the German Ministry of Education and Research and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology. Friederike worked in particular on fabrics from a queen’s tomb while in China.

Before and after photographs of a few artifacts. Notice how much more detail you can see after Lourdes and Friederike have completed their work. These artifacts are ready for the museum.

So here are some before and after pictures featuring some of Lourdes and Friederike’s work. From left to right are an Assyrian bronze arrowhead, a bronze fibula, and a frit stamp seal with a tree motif. As you can see from the scale, these are small objects and for most of each day Lourdes and Friederike are working at their microscopes, using scapels, drills, and brushes to clean even the most delicate artifacts. Some of our most exciting discoveries are made in the conservation laboratory, when the details of the corroded and encrusted artifacts we dig up are finally revealed.

Artifact conservation takes a great deal of training and a solid science background. Lourdes has a Diploma in Conservation and Archaeology and Paper Conservation, an MA in Preventative Conservation and Exhibitions, a degree in Geography and History, specializing in Art History, and an MA in Art History. Friederike has both a Diploma in the conservation of archaeological objects and an MA in Prehistoric Archaeology. They both have a wealth of knowledge and experience in ancient materials, modern chemistry, and patience! I’ll show you more of their work in future posts.

About matney

Dr. Matney is Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology and Classical Studies at the University of Akron. He is the Director of the Ziyaret Tepe Archaeological Expedition.
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