Archaeological Conservation at Abydos
An important and expanding component of the Institute’s fieldwork program at Abydos is archaeological conservation, which includes both field conservation during excavations and conservation of objects in a lab at the Abydos field house, and which utilizes conservators and student conservators trained by the Institute’s Conservation Center. Egypt’s arid desert climate results in a remarkable degree of preservation of materials that so often do not survive in other parts of the world. Organic materials including wood, basketry, matting, cloth, and leather objects have been found in the excavations at the site. In most instances such materials are extremely fragile and require conservation evaluation and consolidation before they can be removed from their find spots for further study. In addition, other types of materials frequently require cleaning and consolidation before they can be removed from the excavation. Thus, conservation staff spend a considerable time on-site working with archaeologists in the Institute’s excavations. In addition, conservators work closely with collections staff in monitoring the condition of the existing research collection, intervening with additional conservation treatments as needed, and with preparing new finds for storage and integration into the collection.