Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day of Archaeology 2011

A blog has been compiled to illustrate "a day in the life of 400 archaeologists". Four hundred archaeologists contributed blog posts about their day on July 29, 2011. I think this is a fabulous idea. Not only is it a great way to reach out to the general public, it also assists college students with determining what specific field of archaeology they would like to go into. Furthermore, it is wonderful for those of us working or studying in the field to gain a scope of worldwide archaeology. Feel the force of archaeology moving in the world, recording and excavating the remains of ancient cultures (play bad theme music). But seriously, browsing through the posts was fascinating.

Here are a few of my favorites (related to conservation and curation, of course)-

Tattooing Artifacts at the Bishop Museum. I love the Bishop Museum and have spent quite a few hours in the front of the house, researching in the archives and working in the laboratories in the back of the house while I was a student at UH Manoa. I had to include this awesome post about the variety of tools used in traditional Polynesian tattooing.

Curation at Verulamium. This post is by a curator who has been working on collecting oral history interviews of archaeologists who excavated Verulamium (St. Albans, UK). Having just completed an oral history interview with the donor of the collection I was curating, I found this post spoke to what I was doing in my life. In addition, part of the day was spent photographing artifacts, a sometimes frustrating, mundane, but important task.

Easing Artifact Backlog at the Lost City Museum. This post deals with one of the most concerning aspects of archaeology (especially to anyone in the conservation or preservation fields)-what happens to all of the artifacts that are excavated? How can they be preserved and used for further research? This post deals entirely with this problem.

"Managing the Monster", UCL Institute of Archaeology Collections. This post really nails it. This is exactly what your day is like when you "wear many hats" in a museum or a collections facility. And it really illustrates the interfacing with researchers. That takes a significant amount of time and a lot of unpacking, repacking and keeping it all organized. Am I crazy that this is exactly what I want to do with my life? Maybe, but with my insane organizational skills, it seems like a perfect fit . . .

Excavating Artifacts . . . Again. Artifacts in storage are often subject to site formation processes and deposition of additional artifacts and paperwork can sometimes lead to reburials. Post deposition processes can frequently occur when humans rummage for neighboring artifacts. Basically, sometimes you spend a lot of time looking for lost artifacts. This post also discusses the accessioning process.

Cleaning Buttons. One of my favorite conservation labs was the copper mechanical cleaning and chemical cleaning lab. Part of the reason that this was my favorite was because of the writing and decorations that showed up on the copper buttons we were cleaning. Had to include this post!

Olaf the Viking Ghost. Lol!!

Kelsey Museum Conservation. This post includes skeletal material conservation! This is a jawbone with painting on it, differing from recovered remains in that this was an artifact, altered and used by humans.

British Museum Conservation. And Curation.

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Archaeology, Conservation and Curation by Whitney Rose Petrey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License