Sunday, August 8, 2010


The conservation team often has to carefully examine metal artifacts for pseudomorphs before cleaning.

Pseudomorphs are casts of organic materials in the metal corrosion products and can provide insight on types of materials that may not be preserved otherwise. They form when organic materials are buried in contact with a metal surface. Both positive casts and negative casts can be found, depending on whether the metal cations penetrated and replaced the organic material or if the corrosion products were deposited on the surface leaving an imprint of its structure.1
This is an example of the preservation of a piece of wood on the surface of an iron object.

Textiles can also be preserved. This image shows the remains of a textile preserved on a copper alloy ring. The twists of the threads of the textile can still be seen.

This pseudomorph of wood found on a copper alloy knife shows how much detailed information of the structure of the organic material can be preserved.

1. Carroll, Scott A. 1997. New Thoughts on the Preservation of Bronzes. Anatolian Archaeological Studies VI (6):301-307.

Scott, DA. 2002. Copper and Bronze in Art: Corrosion, Colorants, Conservation. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Opening Ceremony for the New Archaeology Museum, Kaman-Kalehöyük

On July 10th the new museum opened here at Kaman. The ceremony was attended by His Imperial Highness Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, Her Imperial Highness Princess Akiko and Mr. Ertuğrul Günay, Minister of Culture and Tourism.

The Ankara symphony orchestra enchanted all of us playing both countries' national anthems as well as pieces written by a famous Japanese composer.

The event was well attended by dignitaries, locals and JIAA staff who certainly brought their appetites to the second half of the ceremony.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Recently the conservation team made a site visit to Büklükale to get a better sense of the context of the objects being treated in the lab. The visit was also a great opportunity for the conservation interns to learn more about the archaeology of the region.

The name for the site means bend castle, as the site is located at the bend of a river.

Excavation on this massive fortification wall believed to date to the Hittite Empire Period, began last season. The bottom of the wall has yet to be identified even after reaching 7 m last season.

The zig-zag fortification wall shown here is typical of Hittite architecture.

Although excavation this season is focussed on the main fortification at the top of the hill the old city extends far below and is now mostly covered in fields of sunflowers.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

First post: chemical spot testing workshop

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting a chemical spot testing workshop here at the JIAA with Nancy Odegaard and Scott Carlee, authors of the incredibly useful book 'Material Characterization Tests for Objects of Art and Archaeology'. Three of our conservation staff took part as well as Gordion conservation intern Elizabeth Drolet and Peter Cobb.

The three day workshop covered some of the tests more relevant to archaeological conservation including metals, organic material and salts. Thanks for a great week Nancy and Scott and all the best for your travels to Iraq!

Nancy and Scott


Elizabeth and Nancy