Week 11–Opening the Kiln | Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum
Week 11–Opening the Kiln By Savannah de Montesquiou Week 11–Opening the Kiln My name is Savannah de Montesquiou, and I am Sophomore majoring in History of Art and double minoring in Entrepreneurship & Management and Visual Arts. In addition to my historical and academic studies of art, I have a stro…
Week 10–Fire in the Hole | Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum
Week 10–Fire in the Hole By Arthur Zhang Week 10–Fire in the Hole I am a sophomore majoring in Biology and minoring in Visual Arts. I am interested in this course for both its artistic and scientific approaches to recreating ancient Greek ceramics. I hope my stints with drawing, painting and photogr…
Unloading the kiln!
The "Recreating Ancient Greek Ceramics" class finally got to see whether the cups they'd been working on for 10 weeks fired black and red, as the ancient Greek pots did in antiquity. Nothing tastes as sweet as sparkling grape juice drunk from a kylix fresh out of the kiln...
Firing an (ancient-ish) Greek kiln
The course "Recreating Ancient Greek Ceramics" fired its replica ancient kiln last night (April 8th) under the watchful eye of master potter and kiln master Matthew Hyleck. We went from 52 degrees F to 1750 degrees F in 11 hours with surprisingly little wood and a fair amount of hope that our pots will survive the firing AND come out both red and black. Wish us luck for the opening of the kiln tomorrow night!
In Spring 2015, Sanchita Balachandran, the Archaeological Museum’s Curator/Conservator will teach an interactive, hands on course titled “Recreating Ancient Greek Ceramics.” The course will bring together undergraduate and graduate students across disciplines to work closely with expert ceramics artists including Matthew Hyleck at Baltimore Clayworks and consult with art historians, archaeologists, art conservators and materials scientists to attempt to recreate similar vessels.
The progress will be reported on a weekly basis on the museum website.
The museum is undertaking several major projects to enhance the use and study of our collection in courses, student and faculty research, and for the enjoyment of the public. Some of our current endeavors include:
- Rehousing the entire museum collection. We are currently unpacking thousands of artifacts which were packed and moved from Gilman Hall prior to the building’s renovation. Our task is to unpack all of this material and have it rehoused in archival storage containers so that they can be moved into museum study drawers or our new storage area, and thus be made accessible for the first time in many years.
- Cataloging all objects in our collection. We are in the process of cataloging our entire collection so that it can be viewed as part of an online searchable database within the next two years. This challenging project includes extensive archival research; careful description and examination of each artifact; and high quality photography of each object. As part of this project, we developed a new database which will capture all of this information and include invaluable research information such as references, links to other objects within our collection which are relevant and information on the conservation of the artifacts.
- Conserving artifacts for display and study. As part of our mission to conserve and care for the museum collection, we are examining and conserving objects in need of conservation prior to their display or storage.
- Analytical research of museum objects. We are currently in the process of purchasing state of the art scientific equipment to better understand our museum collection. To this end, we will be purchasing a high quality microscope with digital photography and videography capabilities for examination of objects and for displaying this information to students within the classroom. We will also be acquiring a portable X-ray fluorescence instrument which will allow us to non-destructively analyze pigments, metal compositions, and other material characteristics.
To read more about cylinder seals, an excellent introduction is Dominique Collon’s First Impressions: Cylinder Seals in the Ancient Near East. For more detailed discussions, see the series Catalogue of the Western Asiatic Seals in the British Museum: Cylinder Seals, which has five volumes dedicated to particular periods (Vol. 1: Uruk through Early Dynastic; Vol. 2: [...]Read more