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Examining Archaeological Objects: Our last day
Post by Cari G.: On Thursday July 3rd, 2014, we finished working on our final reports and then we presented them at the end of the first half of class. Each group we had a ceramic and a metal object. The presentations described what type of object we had, any damage or technical detail that we observed on it, using either the microscope, ultraviolet light and, or x-ray fluorescence. We also described how we thought the object was put together: (ie: casting, molding, wheel thrown). In our presentations, we also talked about the history of the objects, its possible date and culture. After the presentations, we had a quick lecture on organic materials including wood, leather, basketry, and papyrus. Ivory was also an organic material we talked about during the lecture. We learned that ivory was referred to animal teeth. We spent the afternoon visiting the Peabody Library and looking at objects at the Walters Art Museum.
Examining Archaeological Objects: At the Baltimore Museum of Art
Post by Cari G.: On Tuesday, July 2nd, 2014 we talked and learned about x-ray florescence and how to detect which elements are in each object by using x-rays. X-rays hit the electrons in atoms and a detector reads the energy changes that take place as electrons move around in their orbitals around the nucleus. By viewing the periodic chart, you can see which energy levels are associated with different elements. After the lecture on x-ray florescence, we took a field trip to the Baltimore Museum of Art. During the visit, we looked at the Antioch mosaics and looked at how missing sections and restorations were dealt with. We also saw bronze statues, and looked for weld lines, foundry marks and patinas. Another thing we talked about while in the museum was the way in which pigments were used, particularly in paintings.
Visiting Baltimore Clayworks: Examining Archaeological Objects
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.
By Anna Glenn
The island of Cyprus, located in the Mediterranean off the coast of Syria, was a major center of trade during the Late Bronze Age, ca. 1450-1050 B.C.E. Cypriot traders traveled all around the Mediterranean world, selling primarily copper in exchange for other commodities. It was during this period that Cypriot craftsmen first produced their own [...]Read more