Conservation of archaeological woven artefacts

Start: Apr 04, 2014 05:00 PM
End: Apr 04, 2014 06:00 PM

Location: Room 209, Institute of Archaeology

Conservation and Development Research Network

Nancy Odegaard (Arizona State Museum and University of Arizona) will give a seminar hosted by the Conservation and Development Research Network at the Institute on 4 April.

Nancy will discuss the completion of a recent multi-disciplinary conservation project focusing on archaeological woven artefacts at the Arizona State Museum.


The Arizona State Museum (ASM) Conservation lab recently completed the survey of nearly 5,000 ethnology objects.  The team is currently about half way through a move –inventory-condition assessment for the 22,000 archaeological examples of woven technology.  The potential for new discoveries through the conservation process is enormous. 

The ASM collection is the largest (nearly 27,000 items) and most culturally comprehensive assemblage of basketry and cordage from the arid Southwest region and offers unparalleled opportunity for research and exhibition. The museum was awarded a Save America’s Treasures grant in 2010 to support a condition survey, storage room improvements, and specialized storage furniture for the collection. Advances in conservation treatment from the ASM lab for basketry objects include new analytical techniques and identification of indigenous repairs; new treatment techniques using CO2 -snow for cleaning; calibration and identification methods using X-ray and Xeroradiograph documentation; and new procedures for reversal of failing restorations, and stabilization of degraded pitched surfaces.

An extensive review of the conservation literature related to the products used in the stabilization of basketry is now being undertaken.  Dr Martina Dawley, a recently hired curator for tribal relations coordination, has worked in conservation and wrote her dissertation on the lack of American Indian involvement in the conservation field, participates in lab projects.  The lab continues to seek tribal consultations to address cultural concerns and inform the development of guidelines regarding access, handling, and preservation of fibre-based objects (some of which come from mortuary contexts).

A reception will follow in the Institute's Staff Common Room (Room 609), supported by the Heritage Studies Section.  All are welcome!

Plaese RSVP to Caitlin O'Grady if you plan to attend.