For the course “Science of Conservation Materials and Methods” offered in the Winter quarter of the 1st year, 3 students worked on a project which compared different block lifting materials and techniques. After a review of the literature on block lifting, they evaluated traditional and new approaches for block lifting fragile archaeological objects. For the first stage of the project they decided to test out different consolidants and facing materials for the objects they were going to lift, which were facsimiles of basketry, a corroded copper bracelet and a painted ceramic. After evaluating a group of eight consolidants and several facing materials, they decided on two consolidants (Paraloid B72 and cyclododecane) and two facing materials (Japanese tissue and cheese cloth) to try out during actual block lifts of the facsimiles. For the block wrapping materials, they tested a traditional wrapping material (plaster bandages) and two newer materials (Altraform and Varaform) to determine which was more effective at holding the block of soil together while lifting.
A summary of their project and findings will be presented at the poster session of this year’s ANAGPIC conference, hosted by Queen’s University Art Conservation Dept. (Kingston, Ontario) May 22-24th. Stay tuned after the conference when their poster will be available on this site. You can see more images from this project at the UCLA/Getty Program’s Facebook page.