Conservation of Finds from Underwater sites 2013 – 2016
Reports from the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus
The Department of Antiquities, Cyprus has in recent years taken great leaps in developing the field of Conservation of Underwater Finds. The Conservation Lab for the Treatment of Underwater Finds was established by the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus in 2010 in the seaside town of Larnaca. The need for this facility arose as a result of the increasing amount of underwater surveys aiming to map and record the underwater wealth of the island, and the discovery, in 2006, of the Mazotos shipwreck. The team working at the lab comprises conservators and technicians from the Department of Antiquities’ staff with a wide range of material (ceramics, metallic artefacts, organic material such as wood and olive pits) currently being treated.
The establishment of a Conservation Lab is dedicated to the treatment of such artefacts and the on-going conservation of finds from underwater sites, like the Mazotos Shipwreck. Future plans aim at expanding both the expertise and knowledge and the existing laboratory infrastructure.
Initially the Department aims to focus on two areas of investigation. Emphasis will be placed on establishing procedures for the treatment of large amounts of wood and other organic material with the goal of forming best practice and determining the requirements for the necessary infrastructure to be implemented. Moreover, the issue of short- and long-term in-situ preservation of underwater finds is an area that will be explored further.
One of the steps in this direction has been the recent excavation season at the Nissia Shipwreck, in collaboration with the University of Cyprus. A number of measures for its in–situ protection were implemented and these will be monitored and assessed. Moreover site monitoring through experimental and sacrificial reburial will provide valuable information about site behavior and rate of decay. Additionally, waterlogged wood lifted from the site will be used to carry out lab treatment trials for its conservation.
The Honor Frost Foundation supports the Department of Antiquities’ work in the Conservation of Underwater Finds, and in 2013 the Foundation has generously committed to fund an Assistant Conservator position for Underwater Finds for three years. The Assistant Conservator will help with current conservation works and research carried out in the lab. Part of the fund will be allocated for a study visit to an established conservation facility abroad, as well as researching best treatment methodologies.
Introduction The Honor Frost Foundation (HFF) has, since 2013, been supporting the Department of Antiquities’ (DoA) efforts in the Conservation of underwater finds. Initially it funded the position of a part time Assistant Conservator for underwater finds, whilst in 2014, a three year grant (renewed on an annual basis) was offered to fund the position […]
The fields of Underwater Archaeology and Conservation have been developing gradually in Cyprus in recent years. The discovery in 2007 of the Mazotos shipwreck which dates to the Classical Period and is located approximately 2.5km off the south coast of the island, has created a new dynamic in a field that up until recently was […]