Archaeology South-East


IoA Placement 2019-20: Boxes, x-rays and conservation

17 February 2020

Our UCL archaeology placement student Neehaarika has been with us at ASE for just over 5 months now! Here’s a little update on things she’s been working on recently.

Neehaarika hangs up xrays of metal objects

To the absolute delight of everyone at the company, Neehaarika recently undertook a box audit of our physical archive in the office. This involved looking in every single box (over 300!) to check if the correct material was inside and in an acceptable condition, and write down all of this information onto a spreadsheet. Neehaarika lead this mammoth project that provided a much-needed up-to-date record of where everything is in the office.

Neehaarika looked in every single box - and this is only about a third of it!

Something particularly cool that Neehaarika has done recently was work with our conservator Alastair to take some x-rays of metal artefacts over at Fishbourne Museum. She got the chance to learn the proper placement of objects on cassettes for x-ray, how to shield partial cassettes for mutable exposures and the selection of adequate exposure levels. Her training also included the wet chemical developing of radiated plates and the creation of paper and digital registers of the materials processed. Her day ended with a look around Fishbourne Museum after hours!

Back in the ASE lab, Neehaarika has been helping Alastair solve storage problems she identified in the box audit, replacing silica gel to keep moisture levels low, and rebagging/ reboxing finds. She has also been producing bespoke packaging for fragile objects, and cleaning metal and glass finds under a microscope.

In addition, she’s been doing a fair amount of washing finds, environmental processing, photography (including photogrammetry and 3D modelling), and of course she’s been out in the field! We'll post about her excavation experience when she's back out in the field.

Neehaarika is doing her placement with us as part of UCL’s BA Archaeology with a Placement Year. She gets to experience a year in commercial archaeology with Archaeology South-East, working on site and in back in the lab to learn excavation techniques, artefact analysis, and imaging and reporting skills.