Friday, 18 March 2016

Friday retrospect: Private 'Curation' of Archaeological Artefacts

In a post on Friday, 19 June 2009 ('Do not wash, dry clean only') I discuss a memorable example of the problem of putting archaeological material in the hands of people ill equipped to look after it. The prime example of this was a collector who bough an "Old Babylonian Period pottery administrative ledger tablet Circa 1900 - 1000 BC" on V-Coins. "After admiring their purchase, the delighted collector then did something… well, not to put a fine point on it, utterly stupid":
after the pleasure of touch and see it in my hand as I made very often with terracotta objects I wet it with light water spray to see restoration, to taste smell.. etc, after seeing that same sand seem to go out from the break lines I put for 4-5 seconds the tablet under powerful (but however middle) flow of water...but instead cleaning the table that seems had skin literally melt down
under my eyes.
Yes, clay tends to do that in water.

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