I am a mature student, married with two children. I came into Conservation by accident after a life-long love of history convinced me to join firstly the History degree course here at the University of Lincoln, before swapping to Conservation. For me, Conservation is the best of both worlds: it is the study of history through objects but also gives me the opportunity to gain practical skills and experience. I’m interested in preventive conservation as well as the conservation of parchment, paper and natural history collections. I’ve loved my time on the BA and I would like to continue my studies with the MA.
Custodian: Adam Daubney (Lincolnshire Finds Liaison Officer)
U.L No. 18/093.3
This object is made from copper alloy and dates back to the Anglo-Saxon period and is evidence of the burial customs for adolescent females who were given objects relating to domestic activities. The girdle-hanger is symbolic of a key to the home; as well as a functional item: it was threaded through a leather belt around the waist for tools to hang from.
Condition before treatment: The object was in good structural condition although it had corroded and was suffering from ‘bronze disease’, a form of corrosion which is caused by atmospheric pollutants. It was possible to see some decoration beneath the corrosion: there was an eye visible on one of the terminals. Anglo-Saxon art focused on the natural world; they believed that animals’ characteristics and properties transferred to the objects they decorated.
Conservation treatment: The corrosion was picked off the surface with wooden tools (less damaging than metal ones). To stabilise the existing corrosion and prevent further corrosion, the object was soaked in a chemical called benzotriazole (BTA) in a vacuum chamber. It was then coated with Incralac, a UV-protective coating, which will protect its surface followed by Toluene, a matting agent which prevents the Incralac resin from appearing inappropriately glossy.
African Tooth and Bead Necklace
Owner: Fuller Baptist Church, Kettering, Northamptonshire.
U.L No. 18/053
The necklace is thought to be from the African Congo brought to the UK by missionaries. It consists of 11 animal teeth and 71 glass beads (probably European acquired through trade) strung onto a length of string. It represents a tribesman’s status as a hunter with the number of teeth corresponding to the number of animals killed. It could also be a reflection of his status as a warrior.
Condition before treatment: the object was in reasonable structural condition with the main problem being surface grime. There was at least one crack in each tooth; two of the teeth had broken at one end; and there were the remains of an old adhesive label on one tooth. Each tooth had a hole through which the string was threaded. The glass beads were intact.
Conservation treatment: The object had to be dry cleaned in order to prevent swelling (of the teeth) or disintegration (of the string) if made wet. A range of tools including a soft brush, smoke sponge, groom stick and wooden tools were used. The label was removed with acetone.
Owner: City of Lincoln
UL No 18/011 and 18/010
Two Royal Charters made from parchment (animal skin). Both are Letters Patent: one dated 28th January 1361 is signed by Richard II and the other, dated 18th April 1380 is signed by Edward III.
Condition before treatment: considering their age, both charters were in good condition with some soiling on the surface. The text, although faded in places, was still legible. The wax seals on both were still intact and showed signs of previous restoration.
Conservation treatment: firstly, the charters needed to be unfolded (or ‘relaxed’); this was done using very strong magnets (a type of rare-earth magnet, neodymium). These were wrapped in conservation-grade tissue to protect the parchment and placed on the charter, which was then laid on a magnetic whiteboard.
Once flattened, the charters were given a light surface clean (away from areas of text) with conservation sponges (smoke sponge, and Akapad) and eraser crumbs. The seals were also cleaned with conservation sponges.
Some of the crumbs were collected to be DNA-tested at a later date, to determine which animal the parchment came from.