Who we are

The Lost Towns Project is a team of professional archaeologists and historians, working closely with the government of Anne Arundel County, Maryland to discover and explore the County's rich heritage. The team is committed to sharing the discovery process of this incredible heritage with the public through hands-on experiences, publications, lectures, and exhibits. In this blog, we will share some of our exciting discoveries, updates, and events. Check out our website at www.losttownsproject.org for much more, or to learn how to become a volunteer or intern! No experience is required to assist us in field investigations, laboratory studies, archival research, and interpretive programs. Join us to rediscover the History in your own backyards!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Conservation of Artifacts

Today's blog was written by our recent intern, Alex, who just completed his hours.  Alex was very interested in learning conservation in the lab, and Shawn taught him how to conserve metal, glass, and bone.  The scissors he refers to in this post will likely be part of a new exhibit highlighting the archaeology of sewing in Anne Arundel County.  Our own Jessie Grow is designing this exhibit.  Maybe we can get her to blog about it soon!

I worked on conservation in the Lost Towns Project lab, in which I conserved artifacts from sites excavated. I performed conservation treatments on these artifacts and also worked on the conservation database. I performed conservation on these artifacts to prevent them from breaking down further and kept a log of such treatments in the database. Conservation treatments vary depending on the type of artifact being conserved and the level of break-down that has occurred. Some of the artifacts that are most frequently conserved include metal, glass, and bone specimens.

The main artifact that I have been conserving and restoring is a pair of scissors from the Swan Cove site in Anne Arundel County, MD. I treated the scissors with air-abrasion to remove the corrosion from them and to prevent them from further breaking down. I used a number of different rotary tools in order to remove the corrosion from the entire area of the scissors. I also conserved and restored the decorative markings on the scissors. I then applied tannic-acid to the entire surface of the scissors to prevent them from breaking down further in the future. The use of air-abrasion and tannic-acid conserved the scissors and helped restore them back to their original form.
The Swan Cove scissors before conservation

The Swan Cove scissors after conservation


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