We specialise in the conservation of archaeological artefacts, objects from museum collections, as well as research and analysis of artefacts using a wide variety of scientific techniques.
We have worked on archaeological artefacts excavated by a wide variety of clients, including archaeological organisations and community groups from across the UK including iron objects, copper alloys, jet, ceramics, stone items and organic materials such as leather, textiles and waterlogged wood. We can help at all stages of the archaeological process, including:
As part of the conservation process, we can analyse artefacts using:
These techniques can be used to look at the organic and elemental composition of artefacts and residues. Examples of the types of information they provide include:
In addition to the services we can provide directly, we frequently work closely with the other labs in the department (particularly DARC and the Digital Visualisation lab) and within the university to record or investigate additional aspects of an object’s manufacture or history and we are happy to facilitate this type of collaborative investigation for clients.
We conduct work on historic objects for museums and private clients. Treatments we have carried out in the past have included the conservation of objects from anthropological collections, the treatment of a collection of wet taxidermied specimens and the conservation of historic arms and armor, as well as paint sampling and analysis from historic vehicles.
Other services that we offer include:
We have experience in developing and delivering short workshops on topics ranging from First aid for Archaeological Finds, to Collections Care. We would be delighted to talk with you about your training needs and how we might help to fill them. Get in touch via email or telephone: +44 191 334-1117.
The Lanchester Diploma is a Fleet diploma (the equivalent of discharge papers) issued to a sailor named Tigernos who left the Roman Navy after a 26-year career in around 150 AD. When it was found in Co. Durham by a metal detector, the eight pieces of copper alloy that made up the diploma were heavily corroded. Careful cleaning helped to reveal the inscription on the surface and make it more legible. Photography, x-rays and metallurgical analysis added additional information to our understanding of this unique object.
Photo montage of one leaf of the Lanchester Diploma before cleaning, as x-rayed and after cleaning. Credit: The Department of Archaeology and the Museum of Archaeology, Durham University.
Prior to coming to Durham, Emily was employed as a conservator for nearly 25 years, working for a range of museums and archaeological sites. She has worked on both terrestrial and marine sites. She wrote and won grants for the rehousing and assessment of a large archaeological collection and carried out similar projects in smaller site archives. She has also led large research projects She is a Fellow of both the American Institute of Conservation and the International Institute for Conservation.
Jemima trained in conservation at the University of Melbourne. She has worked on sites in the U.A.E, Greece, Egypt, Portugal, and Scotland. She has also had extensive experience working with historic objects, but her first love remains the treatment of archaeological metals.
For a quote or to discuss the potential treatment of an object please contact us via the below:
Conservation LaboratoryDepartment of Archaeology, Durham UniversityDawson BuildingSouth RoadDurhamDH1 3LE