Small Finds Conservation: July 16-August 31, 2006
The small finds conservation team directed by Emine Koçak (Ankara University) included Ozan Tanriöver (Istanbul University) and Cavit Cesur (Ankara University). For the first two weeks Nerina de Silva (Institute of Archaeology U.K.) and Melih Ekinci (Istanbul University) joined them before moving onto sculpture conservation (see below).
Finds are received into the laboratory at the end of each day of excavation, registered, and separated into those such as nails and glass fragments that will be given a basic level of treatment and those that require more attention dependent on their material type, state of preservation, and the requirements of the finds specialists. Treatments--based on the principles of reversibility and minimal intervention--consist mainly of mechanical cleaning, consolidation and joining using reversible resins, stabilization, and proper storage. A "check-list" type record slip of the conservation treatment given to each object is included with it. More detailed records are made on "record sheets" when necessary. Selections for photography and drawing are usually made by the finds specialists and include all finds selected for the Burdur Museum. The finds not selected for the Burdur Museum are stored in insulated prefabricated containers in the yard of the excavation house.
Coins: About 80 coins have been recovered from the sites being excavated and surveyed. More than half of them come from the Macellum and about a quarter from the Colonnaded Street. They have been cleaned mechanically with scalpels and brushes under stereo-magnification. They are stored in air-tight plastic containers with desiccant silica gel.
Copper Alloy finds: The range of artifacts included personal ornaments such as earrings, finger rings, buckles, pins, weighing balance trays and beams, bells, decorative fittings and many fragmentary remains. Corrosion products and soil were removed mechanically under stereo-magnification and those finds selected by the Temsilci for Burdur Museum will be stabilized as is the case with the coins. Most metal finds are in very good condition probably because of the buffering effect of the limestone burial environment. Finds are stored in air-tight plastic containers with desiccant silica gel. Some cleaned objects are shown in the pictures on the left.
||Buckle for a belt (left), whereby the leather strap was put through the rectangular opening, turned over and fastened to suspension loops at the back. Roman to early Byzantine find from the "rich" layer in the Macellum. Early Byzantine belt (right) with two suspension loops at the back to fix a leather belt, found in the same layer.
Iron finds: Apart from the recurrent nails and commonly found artifacts such as lock plates, hinge fittings, keys, blades and styli, a large number a bells were retrieved. The finds were mainly in good condition with minimally corroded surfaces, but a large number of fragmentary remains were also present. Except for the nails and fragmentary remains the finds were cleaned using scalpel and a Dremel micro-motor machine. Mineral-preserved wood was present on some nails and socketed objects and textile remains were preserved on one of the bells. A copper alloy coating was visible on another of the bells. Except for the nails, finds are stored in air-tight plastic containers with desiccant silica gel.
Worked bone finds: Many very finely worked bone items were recovered from the Macellum this season viz. socketed handles, decorative items, possible game pieces, a hairpin or two, and a complete flute. They were cleaned and a few artifacts consolidated and joined using acrylic resins.
||Bone objects from the Macellum: flute, mirror handle, furniture decorations, loom plate (for weaving), and a handle.|
Ceramics: A number of vessels selected by the ceramic finds specialists were received for conservation. They were washed, calcareous deposits removed, joined with acrylic resins and gap-filled where necessary.
Glass: The glass was in fragmentary condition except for about fifteen small bottles. A few joining sherds were found amongst one or two groups of shards. The glass was swabbed with ethanol and left to dry.
||Roman glass plate (left) from the Potters' Quarter, pieced back together; early Byzantine small bottle (right) found in one piece
Stone: Architectural fragments, stone artifacts and statuary fragments were mainly cleaned using a Plyno steam cleaner to soften calcareous deposits which were then removed with hand tools.
Other artifacts: Tesserae, stucco, and plaster, charcoal, and mineral samples were treated by cleaning and storing them correctly.