Artifacts conservation : bronzes, bones, bowls and boxes : a report on an internship in archaeological conservation, The Nicholson Museum of Antiquities, The University of Sydney

  • Glennda Marsh

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    During 1984 I carried out an Internship in Materials Conservation under the supervision of Mrs. Patricia Johnson, the Conservator of the Nicholson Museum of Antiquities, the University of Sydney. My area of specialization was in the conservation of artifacts. The majority of artifacts examined and treated during the Internship were from archaeological excavations in the Middle East, at the site of Pella, in Jordan. The site of Pella has produced artifacts from a wide chronological range; Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Hellenistic (Greek), Roman, and Arabic historical periods. A selection of these artifacts has been granted to the University of Sydney by the Jordanian government, and constitute the present Pella Collection. Most of the materials are inorganic, i.e. ceramics, metals, glass, and stone, although bone and ivory artifacts, as well as skeletal material, form a part of the collection. Upon an initial examination of the collection, conservation problems were identified and a program of conservation work for the collection was formulated. Priority treatment was given to the metals in the collection, particularly to the small bronzes which were found to be suffering from “bronze disease” {active corrosion), to ceramics needed for study and display, and to glass with unstable surfaces. Improvements in storage conditions for the Pella Collection, particularly in the packing of small finds and the storage of metals, were also given a high priority. Taken altogether, the Pella Collection has proved to be a well-balanced collection, covering almost every period of Middle Eastern Archaeology, and containing artifacts representative of most types of materials and of ancient technology. Planned as a research and teaching collection for the students of the Department of Archaeology, the University of Sydney, it also proved to be an excellent teaching collection for a student of materials conservation. The following, therefore, is a report on my Internship in Archaeological Conservation, and includes a description of the institution which sponsored the Internship, a description of both the program of work and the program of instruction for the Internship, detailed descriptions of all conservation work and other activities which were undertaken as part of the Internship, and a final evaluation of the Internship.
    Date of Award1985
    Original languageEnglish

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