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View Full Version : Any Archaeologists?/People With Appropriate Knowledge for This?



RunawayScribe
12-08-2008, 08:08 PM
Say an archaeologist dug up a very, very old artifact - a piece of clay pottery from 4000 B.C., for instance. How would he or she go about cleaning it while being careful of its fragility? Any websites you know of that I can check out? A step-by-step process, maybe?

Thanks,
Runaway

MaryMumsy
12-08-2008, 10:36 PM
Dipping back forty or so years to my anthro student days, the main first thing would be NO WATER. Today you would wear latex gloves to prevent any body oils from getting on it. Use a soft, dry brush to gently brush away any loose surface dirt. I can't remember now how you would go about removing any crusted dirt.

MM

Medievalist
12-08-2008, 11:31 PM
Dipping back forty or so years to my anthro student days, the main first thing would be NO WATER. Today you would wear latex gloves to prevent any body oils from getting on it. Use a soft, dry brush to gently brush away any loose surface dirt. I can't remember now how you would go about removing any crusted dirt.

MM

Dental picks

mscelina
12-08-2008, 11:35 PM
An extremely delicate procedure. Sometimes, it would take weeks to clean one pot sherd. After the artifact is appropriately cleaned, a tiny ID number will be written on the sherd in black indelible ink (almost microscopic) and then covered with a thin protective veneer (clear fingernail polish) to preserve the number. That was it will be catalogued and stored correctly.

HeronW
12-08-2008, 11:59 PM
http://bcheritage.ca/artifacts/kosapsom/tools.htm

archeologist's tools :}

Don Allen
12-09-2008, 01:17 AM
Again back in the day, we were taught to actually dig out the artifact by digging a trowl around it and removing it while stiil lodged in place for extraction at the lab, dental picks, gloves, brushs to follow... Sometime thats impossible because it may be attached to a greater find or more artifacts, in that case its painstaking piece by piece removal of dirt.

MelancholyMan
12-09-2008, 08:35 AM
It isn't always proper to remove all dirt immediately. The dirt can in some instances be used to help in determining the age and whether or not it was in the correct layer. Stuff can get moved around underground and if a 4000 BC pot shard is in a 3000 BC layer, that is a very important piece of evidence.

RunawayScribe
12-10-2008, 09:59 AM
Thank you all. That's all great stuff and pretty much what I needed. Further thoughts are welcomed, since there's a few more similar instances in my story. All your input is appreciated. :)

Grazie!
Runaway