2005 CONSERVATION & MAGAZZINO
Gretchen Meyers, Rollins University, Director of Materials
Ann Steiner, Franklin and Marshall College, Director of Research
Chris White, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Head Conservator
Vanessa Saiz, Conservation Intern

Anne Hooten, Illustrator
Courtney Brasher, Southern Methodist University, Lab Assistant

 


Director of Materials Gretchen Meyers sorting finds for cataloguing.


Conservator Chris White and Conservation Intern Vanessa Saiz in the lab.

Conservation Opening Report: Gretchen Meyers and Chris White

We are very excited to begin another season of conservation and research in the archaeological field lab. We are fortunate that many members of our staff have returned from past years. Dr. Ann Steiner of Franklin and Marshall College continues as Director of Research and Dr. Gretchen Meyers of Rollins College begins her second year as Director of Materials. Chris White from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston returns for a third year as conservator and he is joined by a conservation intern, Vanessa Saiz. We are also happy to welcome Annie Hooton from the American School of Classical Studies in Athens as our archaeological illustrator.


Professor Ann Steiner lectures on ceramics to field students in the study room.

 


Illustrator Anne Hooten using a profile gauge to accurately draw a vessel fragment.

This season promises to be an interesting one, both in terms of new finds from ongoing excavations and research projects with our archived material. Our five open trenches this year are continuations of areas excavated last year and will certainly yield material related to 2004 finds. Already our conservation team is hard at work on some large coarseware vessels from PF 15 which were lifted from the ground at the very end of last season. Continuing excavation in this area is producing other joining fragments and these unique vessel profiles are becoming more clear. Similar work is also occurring with this year's bucchero finds from both PC 20 and PC 27.


Coarseware vessel and stand found at the end of the 2004 season in PF 15.


Bucchero finds excavated in Trench PC 20 in 2004 and 2005.

We are also very pleased at the number of research projects being undertaken in our lab this year. All field school participants are involved in research groups and are studying various aspects of our archived material. Each group is overseen by one of the professors on the site. Dr. Warden is supervising two groups of students: one group examining the bucchero finds in PC 20 from 3 seasons of excavation, including this one; the other group is examining the contents of an ancient pit from PC 23. Dr. Thomas is working on numismatics with a third group of students. Dr. Steiner and her Franklin and Marshall students are conducting a study of the standardization of sizes of fineware pottery and Dr. Meyers and students from Rollins College are working on a typology of roof tiles from both Poggio Colla and Podere Funghi. Other visiting professors to the site are working with students as well, including Dr. Rob Sternberg of Franklin and Marshall who is conducting a geophysical survey of the site and Lynn Makowski who has two students working on paleobotany with her.


Gretchen Meyers, Jess Galloway, and Rollins College students in roof tile workshop.


Vanessa Saiz and Isaac Weaver studying pottery from the Podere Funghi midden.

Finally, we have moved the conservation lab and research space to a new location, closer to our housing facilities. Therefore we are able to easily spend time with the material and we look forward to the productivity that such proximity brings!


Illustrator Anne Hoote and Conservators Vanessa Saiz and Chris White.

 


Lab Assistant Courtney Brasher measuring coarseware for catalogue.

 


Some of Anne Hooten's illustrations.

 


Director of Materials, Gretchen Meyers, enters catalogue data.

 

Conservation Final Report - Gretchen Meyers, Rollins College:

It has been another busy season in the Archaeological Materials and Conservation Lab!

We have worked on a number of new projects, aimed at promoting research and analysis of our material in preparation for publication, and as usual have maintained our conservation, archival and documentary procedures for new finds from this season's campaign. Over 600 individual finds were made in the field by trench supervisors, and 245 of these objects have been entered into our catalog-a task that could never have been completed without our lab assistant, Courtney Brasher. New finds such as the inscribed base and bronze figurine are particularly noteworthy, but we have also encountered many previously unseen shapes, profiles and methods of decorative enhancement in our bucchero and impasto ceramics which promise to be the subject of exciting future research.


Volunteer Antonio Fabbri and Courtney Brasher photographing finds.

In terms of conservation, this season's activities have brought a variety of materials and challenges to the conservation staff. Chris White and Vanessa Sáiz Gómez have both worked hard to re-assemble large coarseware vessels found in PF 15 in 2004. The discovery of the sandstone objects in PC 27, most especially the inscribed statue base, required significant time and skill by Chris in treatment. Vanessa's work on several complete or nearly-complete vessels has provided the excavators with valuable information for their research. As is normal, the greatest amount of time was devoted to the treatment of the copper alloy finds and bucchero pottery.


Conservator Chris White.

 


Vanessa Saiz consolidating a coarseware vessel.

Archaeological illustrator, Anne Hooton, has greatly contributed to our documentary goals. The aim of the archaeological illustration for the 2005 campaign was to record and ink all the drawings in order to have publication-ready illustrations. The season concentrated on the fineware pottery currently under research by Dr. Ann Steiner for final publication. In addition, prioritized finds from this year's campaign such as the inscription block, the bronze figurines and bronze lion were also drawn and inked. The gold jewelry was drawn for Dr. Alexis Castor along with bronzes and pottery from previous seasons for publication. Site work included the plan, section and elevation drawings of the altar in Trench PC 23 and a section through the fire pit in PC 23.


Illustrator Anne Hooten drawing the hearth in PC 23 during Week 6.

Perhaps most exciting for us this year has been the increased participation and involvement of students in the lab. Students had several opportunities throughout the season to engage first hand with the material culture of our site. In addition to work with the conservation staff cleaning bucchero and other materials, through their research projects students were provided an opportunity to learn about the various methodologies employed in studying specific finds such as coins, roof tiles, metals, paleobotany and ceramics. As a researcher myself, I was particularly pleased to see students integrate their on-site excavation knowledge with close consideration of the objects being found there. It is such a comprehensive approach that allows us to begin to question and ultimately understand the overall context of our site!


Jess Dussling, Greg Warden, Stephanie Brown, and Chelsea Kuiper.

As always, it would have been impossible to have conducted such a productive season in the lab without the dedication and assistance of my colleagues-Dr. Ann Steiner, Chris White, Anne Hooton, Vanessa Saiz and Courtney Brasher. I am grateful to all of them and look forward to next year!


Professors Ann Steiner and Gretchen Meyers hauling crates
from the magazzino to the Vicchio museum at season's end.

 


Anne Hooten illustrating the bronze lion from PC 23.

 


Bucchero sherd with inscription from Trench PC 20, cleaned by Fred Martino.

 


Vanessa Saiz conserving bucchero vessel fragments.

 

For photographs of key finds from trenches in the recent season, see Finds.

For information on the Conservation Lab, see below. For additional information on the lab and magazzino, visit the Conservation Lab page listed under Facilities.

About the Conservation Lab

In the conservation lab, conservators and assistant conservators clean, conserve, and label finds. Conservation involves the repair, consolidation, and preservation of material remains. In special cases, our conservators will come up to the site and assist in the removal of fragile remains. Conservation work requires expertise in art history, science, and studio art, and an understanding of archaeological methodology.


Vanessa Saiz looks for joins in finds in the study room.

 


Conservation tools and chemicals used in cleaning and joining finds.

 


Chris White joins and restores fragments of a bucchero oinochoe.

 


2004 Head Conservator Chris White advises Katy Blanchard
on excavation of Feature 2 in Podere Funghi Trench PF 15.