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Conservation Lab tour at the Institute of Archaeology

By Paul J Majewski, on 19 February 2020

In November 2019, we had an opportunity to tour some of the laboratories at the Institute of Archaeology. The visits were very informative and interesting and gave an insight into what our students are studying. We found that the labs specialised in one area with the science of archaeology, while other specialised in the heritage of archaeology, museums, and conservation. The laboratories that we visited in the IOA were Wolfson Archaeological Science Laboratory, The Institute of Archaeology Museum Collections, the Bone Laboratory (which I found fascinating), the Conservation Laboratories and the Archaeobotany Laboratory.

We have visited both the Conservation Laboratories and the Archaeobotany Laboratory. We were impressed and pleased seeing the students hard at work, everyone looked very smart dressed in white lab coats. We were interested in the work of one student who had discovered that the object she was working on had been intentionally aged to look older than it was. We also learned a lot about the history of the institute.  For example in the Archaeobotany lab, some of the plant samples collected by ‘Insert name’ in the ‘insert year’ are still kept in original matchboxes. (Lewis Rushton)

Margarita, Sofina and I went on five tours in the Institute of Archaeology. The first tour was to the Wolfson Lab of Archaeological Science, IOA museum store and the Bone lab. We found the Bone lab very interesting especially when presented with a calcified cancerous tumour from a uterus of a 60-year-old woman who had lived with it for 20 years before she died. The other tour was to the Conservation Laboratories and the Archaeobotany Laboratory. Margarita found the Conservation Lab the most fascinating especially reconstructing broken fragments of artefacts, and seeing the final product as it would have looked all those years ago


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