Wednesday, 20 August 2014

OGAP Conservation 2014

Starting from the top left corner: Carmen Martin Ramos (in black jumper), Elizabeth Diaz, Eri Ohara-Anderson, Ephraim Lucas Tarmo, Isack Faustin Lyimo, Ngonyani Lihuni and Renata Peters. Kristen Welch (Teaching Assistant from Colorado University, seen on top left corner) was not working in conservation but she was in the lab a lot!
The 2014 OGAP Conservation season has been very exciting and successful. We have just finished our work and will add more details here soon.  But first of all, we would like to introduce you to everybody who contributed to this very successful season!

The team was headed by Renata Peters (Coordinator of the MA in Principles of Conservation at the UCL Institute of Archaeology and the UCL Conservation and Development Research Network). Ellie Ohara-Anderson (currently on the UCL MSc Conservation for Archaeology and Museums, year 2) assisted managing the team and the magnificent workload! We were  fortunate to count once again on the expert help of our colleague Dan Mainoya (conservator and curator at the Natural History Museum, Arusha).
Dan Mainoya (conservator and curator at the Natural History Museum, Arusha)

We are extremely happy to have added Tanzanian apprentices to our team this year: Isack Faustin Lyimo, Ephraim Lucas Tarmo and Ngonyani Lihuni did brilliant work with us!

Highlights to the season were added by the help of conservator Elizabeth Diaz (OGAP), and conservation enthusiast (hopefully future conservator) Carmen Martin Ramos (OGAP). We also counted on  the help of Jesuit Temba (Tanzania Antiquities Directorate) for a few days! And also the precious help from IFR students Georgina de Barros, Trevor Keevil, Matthew Muttart, Victoria Sluka,   Gabriela de la Torre and Ben Zunkeller. Last but not least, we also had the eventual help of the wonderful Angeliki Theodoropoulou! Wow, this made a mighty team!!!  Thanks so much to you all - it was a privilege and also a lot of fun to work with you!

Here are some of our people in action:

Renata is looking happy with her fossils
Eri Ohara-Anderson - busy bee!













Isack Faustin Lyimo worked on a number of complex artefacts
 Ngonyani Lihuni working with a rotary tool 

Ephraim Lucas Tarmo became very interested in scapulas
The extra help from Carmen Martin Ramos and Elizabeth Diaz was essential for our work 
Jesuit Temba working on fossilised bone


Ben Zunkeller, Georgina de Barros and Victoria Sluka (IFR students) working on recently excavated bone

As you can see, Matthew Muttart (IFR student) was really not very bored by this difficult job (removing concretion from recently excavated lithic). 
Gabriela de la Torre and Trevor Keevil (IFR students) just after accomplishing a difficult mission (Eri on the far right)
And finally, our wonderful Angeliki Theodoropoulou doing some sediment removal!







Friday, 18 July 2014

Borrow artefacts at the Archaeo-library.

Saturday, 21 June 2014, the first library opened in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands, where you can borrow authentic artefacts, between 5000 - 200 years old and excavated in the city Vlaardingen, instead of books! “Thanks to the archaeo-library people can now tell a tale about the history of Vlaardingen in their own living room, on the basis of an authentic artefact”, city archaeologist Eli van Toledo explained in an interview. She was asked whether the conservators didn’t protest vehemently against this idea, but refused to take the bait. However, she did state that it was also a step in the dark for the archaeologists, and that this will be a short-lived experiment if the borrowers don’t take good care of the artefacts.

One of the two display cases with artefacts that are up for
loan. Copyright: Omroepvlaardingen.nl
       The project is a joint undertaking between the Vlaardingse cultuur- en educatiecentrum KADE40 and the archaeological depot of the city Vlaardingen.  Its intended objective is to share archaeological artefacts with the public. Both organic as well as inorganic objects, such as a conserved bone ice skate, an inkwell, faience pottery and a 5000 year old flint axe, are on loan. Members of the archaeo-library are allowed to keep an artefact for up to 6 months.  As some of the artefacts are fragile,  they have to give evidence of their creditworthiness and sign a contract if they damage ‘their artefact’. However, becoming a member and borrowing artefacts is free...


One of the two display cases with artefacts that are up for
loan. Copyright: Omroepvlaardingen.nl
       A cute story was furthermore mentioned in the Algemeen Dagblad (a Dutch Newspaper) about a 66 year old female inhabitant of Vlaardingen (she became the first member of the archaeo-library) who nervously walked out of the building homewards, clutching her purse which held a 5.000 year old arrowhead (packed tightly in bubble wrap!).  “It’s going to receive a place at the front of my display cabinet,” she said. “I just hope no one breaks into my house and steals it”.



What do you think of this project? 


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Investigative conservation at The Guardian


Renata Peters gave a talk at The Guardian last week, as part of the UCL Lunch Hour Lectures on Tour. She talked about investigative investigative conservation done on objects excavated from Western Front trenches. The focus was on daily life in WW1 trenches but the work also helped the identification of a few of the soldiers with whom some of the material was associated. Take a look at the video if you want to know more about investigative conservation. 


Sunday, 8 June 2014

Workshop on Conservation of Ethnographic Collections at University of Amsterdam (UvA)



Ellen van Bork (University of Amsterdam, UvA) ran an excellent workshop on conservation of ethnographic collections in Amsterdam last week. Teaching was done by various conservators such as Martijn de Ruiter (Tropenmuseum), Renata Peters (UCL Institute of Archaeology), Steph Scholten (UvA), Menno Fitski (Rijksmuseum), Hans Piena (Openlucht Museum) and Helene Tello (Ethnologischens Museum, Berlin). 
Some of the classes were taught at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam, where Martijn de Ruiter provided a wonderful tour and showed both the challenges posed by the collection and the innovative responses they have found.

If you haven’t been to the Tropenmuseum you should definitely put it on your list next time you visit Amsterdam!

'Conservation in museums and inclusion of the non-professional' by Jill Saunders (JCMS)

The Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies (JCMS) has just released 'Conservation in museums and inclusion of the non-professional' by Jill Saunders, an article based on her UCL MA Principles of Conservation dissertation.

Abstract: Just as object meanings are defined by people, so too can identities of individuals, groups and communities be implicit in their relationships with particular objects. The transformative quality of the museum environment and display formats, with regard to objects and object relationships, is fundamental to the socio-cultural responsibilities of these institutions and their ability to affect social issues. To understand the potential utility of heritage conservation in this respect, it is necessary to explore the complexity of the relationships that can form between objects and people and so establish some key issues and implications of conservation activities.
This paper first addresses the role of materiality and material interactions in the construction and communication of identity aspects, and considers professional conservation with regard to these relationships. It will be shown that material interactions can have great significance concerning identity and that the subjectivity of object values is a key issue in the conservation of material heritage. It will be seen that though the management of heritage can be problematic, the resonance of heritage status gives museums a unique capacity for addressing both intangible and tangible social needs. 


See the whole article here

Friday, 6 June 2014

Lunch Hour Lecture at The Guardian: Investigative Conservation and the Archaeology of the First World War (by Renata Peters)

Renata Peters (UCL Institute of Archaeology) will give one of the UCL Lunch Hour Lectures On Tour this year, taking place at The Guardian on 19th June (between 13.00 and 14.00). She will talk about investigative conservation done on objects excavated from Western Front trenches. Some of these objects were associated with unidentified human remains thought to be of soldiers killed in battles between 1914 and 1918, and provided important information for their identification. Others provided more questions than answers, but also shed light on the reality of life and death in the trenches.
You can book a free ticket here

Kayapó chiefs Raoni Metuktire and Megaron Txukaramae at UCL

Kayapó chiefs Raoni Metuktire and Megaron Txukaramae (part of the Amazonian indigenous movement in Brazil) will participate in a special event at the Institute of Archaeology on 10 June.

Kayapó chiefs Raoni Metuktire and Megaron Txukaramae are iconic leaders of the Amazonian indigenous movement in Brazil. Raoni played a prominent role in the 1992 Rio Earth summit, which heralded the recognition of indigenous lands, national forests, extractive reserves, and other protected-status areas in Brazil.

Unfortunately the tide in Brazil has turned in recent years and Brazilian indigenous peoples face the abolishment of hard-fought indigenist provisions in the country’s constitution, threats to their ancestral and inhabited territories (among others by plans to build hundreds of hydroelectric dams), and the toxic environmental and human rights legacy of mining, cattle ranching, and industrial–scale agricultural activity.

Invited by the developing Centre for Amazonian Studies, the UCL Institute of Archaeology, the UCL Department of Geography, and the UCL Biodiversity Forum, the Kayapó chiefs will speak about the threats currently faced by Amazonian indigenous peoples and the importance of indigenous stewardship over the landscape of Amazonia.

Following their presentation, Raoni and Megaron will participate in a Q&A with the audience and a panel of UCL Amazonian specialists.

See more here: 
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/calendar/articles/20140610

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Roman gold mines and the power of protests: exceptional example of local initiative by Katarzyna Jarosz (International University of Logistics and Transport, Wrocław, Poland)


The town of Roșia Montană (Romania) has one of the longest networks of Roman gold mines in the world. A Canadian firm, ‘Rosia Montana Gold Corporation’ plans to create Europe's largest open-cast gold mine in the village. However, the environmental and social impact of the project would be high. It will involve, for example, the dislocation of hundreds of families, the destruction of the oldest mines and archaeological sites, and the contamination of a local lake. The poster analyzes the origin, history and impact of the protests the project as well as the role played by civil engagement and society in protecting cultural heritage.


This is the abstract of a poster to be presented at 'The impact of cross-disciplinary conservation on social development', the UCL Institute of Archaeology Annual Conference 2014. 
The conference will be held Friday and Saturday, 16 & 17 May 2014, at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in Lecture Theatre G6 from 8:30 to 18:00.  Conference posters will be on display all day Friday in room 612.
You can book your tickets here!

Training local Thangkas restorers for the Matho Museum Project by Nelly Rieuf & Melany Wan


The Matho Museum Project involves restoring a vast number of Thangkas from the collection of the Matho Monastery in the Himalaya Ladakh region in India. The amount of Thangkas in need of conservation means that it is impossible to solely rely on volunteers from foreign countries that have received formal conservation training. For this reason eight local girls from the Matho Village have been recruited to be trained as Thangka restorers. The poster will explain the training process of the Thangkas restoration team and outline some of the challenges that the Project has faced.


This is the abstract of a poster to be presented at 'The impact of cross-disciplinary conservation on social development', the UCL Institute of Archaeology Annual Conference 2014. 
The conference will be held Friday and Saturday, 16 & 17 May 2014, at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in Lecture Theatre G6 from 8:30 to 18:00.  Conference posters will be on display all day Friday in room 612.
You can book your tickets here!

Museum, migrants and socio-economic human rights by Sophia Labadi (University of Kent, UK)


Labadi suggests that the practice of museum conservation can promote the wellbeing and economic prosperity of recent adult migrants and foster social cohesion. She discusses how these practices of conservation and interpretation have changed the relationships that migrants have with their host countries, but also their countries of origins. The poster provides in-depth analyses of pioneer programmes developed to promote social and economic human rights (specifically the right to education and the right to decent work) of recent migrants at Manchester Museum and the National Gallery of Denmark (Copenhagen).


This is the abstract of a poster to be presented at 'The impact of cross-disciplinary conservation on social development', the UCL Institute of Archaeology Annual Conference 2014. 
The conference will be held Friday and Saturday, 16 & 17 May 2014, at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in Lecture Theatre G6 from 8:30 to 18:00.  Conference posters will be on display all day Friday in room 612.
You can book your tickets here!

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Continuity Matters: Maintaining training outcomes in conservation and museum practice by Misa Tamura (British Museum)

Tamura addresses issues with attaining a long-term positive impact on the conservation and museum practice training provided by external consultant conservators and other museum practitioners to museums in challenging contexts. She discusses some of the considerations in such projects drawing on the data collected from a survey of sub-Saharan African museum professionals, as well as a case study from the National Museum of Ethnology, Mozambique, where she had an internship placement.


This is the abstract of a poster to be presented at 'The impact of cross-disciplinary conservation on social development', the UCL Institute of Archaeology Annual Conference 2014. 
The conference will be held Friday and Saturday, 16 & 17 May 2014, at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in Lecture Theatre G6 from 8:30 to 18:00.  Conference posters will be on display all day Friday in room 612.
You can book your tickets here!

The role of the conservator in the illicit trade of antiquities by Patricia Torres Sepulveda (UCL Institute of Archaeology)


The looting of antiquities robs people of their material culture, hinders the development of academic knowledge and often compromises the cultural identity of people when they are most vulnerable. The conservation of looted artefacts is not only morally and ethically wrong, but it may also render police enforcement useless. Torres Sepulveda draws on these ideas to explore the impact of looting and how conservators can fight against it. She argues for a set of ethical standards and rules that would empower conservators to act more ethically and responsibly. 


This is the abstract of a poster to be presented at 'The impact of cross-disciplinary conservation on social development', the UCL Institute of Archaeology Annual Conference 2014. 
The conference will be held Friday and Saturday, 16 & 17 May 2014, at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in Lecture Theatre G6 from 8:30 to 18:00.  Conference posters will be on display all day Friday in room 612.
You can book your tickets here!

Working together to preserve our intangible cultural heritage cultural centres: The Modern Museum by Louise Smith (UCL Institute of Archaeology)

Smith explores participatory conservation between the museum, conservator, the indigenous community and the general public in Australia through the use of cultural centres. The poster illustrates new ways in which intangible heritage is being presented to the general public and explores the functionality of cultural centres in contemporary society. It also discusses the benefits for each group and the impact of engaging the local communities through the practice of conservation. Besides bringing awareness to the conservator the poster aims to raise new ideas on how to approach intangible heritage. 

This is the abstract of a poster to be presented at 'The impact of cross-disciplinary conservation on social development', the UCL Institute of Archaeology Annual Conference 2014. 
The conference will be held Friday and Saturday, 16 & 17 May 2014, at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in Lecture Theatre G6 from 8:30 to 18:00.  Conference posters will be on display all day Friday in room 612.
You can book your tickets here!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

In pursuit of an impact: the Watts Towers Conservation Project’s education and outreach efforts by Sylvia Schweri (Los Angeles County Museum of Art LACMA)



The Watts Towers, a U.S. National Historic Landmark in Los Angeles, are a work of art created by Italian immigrant Sabato Rodia between 1921 and 1954. Since 2011 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has worked to formulate a preservation and maintenance protocol for the Towers and provided daily preservation maintenance. Schweri discusses LACMA’s recent conservation efforts and how its project, in which local hiring has been an important feature, has contributed to local economic well-being and provided training opportunities for community members. Her poster furthermore explores some ideas for future preservation-related outreach and local investment.

This is the abstract of a poster to be presented at 'The impact of cross-disciplinary conservation on social development', the UCL Institute of Archaeology Annual Conference 2014. 
The conference will be held Friday and Saturday, 16 & 17 May 2014, at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in Lecture Theatre G6 from 8:30 to 18:00.  Conference posters will be on display all day Friday in room 612.
You can book your tickets here!

Why is Participatory Conservation Important by Yuqi Chock (UCL Institute of Archaeology)


Yuqi Chock contends that public participation is essential to decision-making in cultural heritage issues because this leads to major benefits such as the successful identification and preservation of intangible heritage values. By outlining the advantages to be gained and by listing possible methods in which the involvement of interested parties in the decision-making process may be attained the poster aims to encourage the practice of participatory conservation to people who have yet to fully engage in this relatively new concept.

This is the abstract of a poster to be presented at 'The impact of cross-disciplinary conservation on social development', the UCL Institute of Archaeology Annual Conference 2014. 
The conference will be held Friday and Saturday, 16 & 17 May 2014, at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in Lecture Theatre G6 from 8:30 to 18:00.  Conference posters will be on display all day Friday in room 612.
You can book your tickets here!

Focus on Afghanistan by Laura D'Alessandro (Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, USA)


D'Alessandro discusses the experience of conducting two six-month training programs for conservators from Iraq and Afghanistan. Funded by the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the two programs provided an informative look at many of the differences in the experiences of the conservators who took part. Lack of technical support and dependable funding in their own countries continue to be a critical issue for the staff at the museums throughout Afghanistan, and to a lesser extent in Iraq. Recently, with generous funding by the United States Embassy, Kabul, it was possible to follow up with our Afghan colleagues through a three-year inventory project at the National Museum of Afghanistan.  D’Alessandro discusses the issues confronted by conservators in Afghanistan and some of the (temporary) solutions that are in place.

This is the abstract of a poster to be presented at 'The impact of cross-disciplinary conservation on social development', the UCL Institute of Archaeology Annual Conference 2014. 
The conference will be held Friday and Saturday, 16 & 17 May 2014, at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in Lecture Theatre G6 from 8:30 to 18:00.  Conference posters will be on display all day Friday in room 612.
You can book your tickets here!

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