2015 CONSERVATION & MAGAZZINO
Gretchen Meyers, Franklin & Marshall College: Director of Materials
Ann Steiner, Franklin & Marshall College: Director of Research
Allison Lewis, Head Conservator

Susan Narramore, Laboratory and Field Assistant
Richard Bidgood, Photographer
Anne-Marie Cannatella, Conservation Student

 


F&M students review ceramics with Ann Steiner and Gretchen Meyers

2015 Magazzino and Conservation Mid-Season Report
Ann Steiner

The labs that support Poggio Colla underwent some dramatic transitions as the season opened. In anticipation of our final season and move to a program of study and publication, we have moved into new spaces in the town of Vicchio. This move required a great deal of time as the season opened, and could not have been managed without the support of our cadre of four undergraduates from Susquehanna University who joined as part of their study abroad experience. Their heaving lifting allowed us to make the move efficiently with a minimum of disruption.

 Our research lab, which houses inventoried finds and our library and archives, is now in the compact “Clean Space” in town. Under the direction of Gretchen Meyers, we are now caught up on last year’s backlog of finds and are busy processing finds from 2015. A veritable avalanche of pithos fragments from PC 34/49, too big and numerous for the Clean Space lab, are set out in our former space in the Selve lab where we are finding joins with material from that same context in 2009. Susan Narramore, F&M 2016, is serving as lab and field assistant; in particular Sue is helping to make sure we fill any gaps in our photo records.


Lab and Field Assistant Susan Narramore studying ceramic finds.

 

The Commune of Vicchio has generously provided us with additional work space during our five-week season in the house of the 16th century artist, Benvenuto Cellini. This historic spot has been beautifully restored, and is proving to meet our needs for photography and conservation beautifully. Photography dominates on the first floor, where Richard Bidgood is taking and processing object photos. Phil Perkins is experimenting with RTI, taking our initial foray into the technique a step further. The remainder of the first floor is an exhibition space where wall texts and photographs provide a self-guided over view the history of the excavations and major finds over the past 21 years. The exhibition is the work of our local colleague, Andrea Santoni; we welcome the members of the Vicchio community from 10-12 each weekday.


Photographer Richard Bidgood editing photos.

 

Conservation and illustration occupy the second floor. Allison Lewis remains our head conservator, and she is ably assisted by our student intern Anne-Marie Canatella. Our professional draftsman, JoAnn Boscarino, has returned after a year’s hiatus for the final season and is extremely busy catching up and keeping pace at the same time.


Head Conservator Allison Lewis treating ceramic finds.

 


Illustrator JoAnn Boscarino at work.

 

Phil Perkins is with us making progress on his project to publish the bucchero pottery from the site. Phil has taken advantage of the space left empty by the research lab in Selve to comb through context pottery and complete his survey of our impressive quantities of bucchero. In his RTI lab at the Cellini space, Phil is investigating further the use of this technology to reveal details of stamping and other forms of decoration on bucchero.


Phil Perkins studies bucchero from Poggio Colla

 

A team of five undergraduate students from Franklin & Marshall is working with Ann Steiner on the third floor of the Casa Cellini to review context pottery from some key deposits at the site. They have completed a re-assessment of material from PC 1, excavated in 1995-8 and again in 2006 and are now moving into PC 31 material, one with tantalizing evidence for large scale commensal activities long with votive material.

Erin Markey, F&M 2015, is ably running our ethnopaleobotany program. She has succeeded in floating our samples from 2014 and up to date with the 2015 material.  We look forward to a visit from a team of scientists next week to assess our project.


Erin Markey floating seeds from Poggio Colla trenches

 

In sum, the Poggio Colla labs are very much involved in the enterprise of 2015, thinking nostalgically as we do many things for the last time but simultaneously thinking with excitement about the years of research and study to come.


Conservation Track student Anne-Marie Cannatella at work in the lab.

 


Gretchen Meyers and Allison Lewis discuss possible joins
while Anne-Marie Cannatella conserves a find
.

 


Gretchen Meyers and Ann Steiner introduce the illustration workshop

 


JoAnn Boscarino teaching the archaological illustration workshop

 


Allison Lewis presented a conservation workshop for 2015 field school students

 


JoAnn Boscarino drawing PC stone base in the museum basement

 

2015 Conservation Final Report
Allison Lewis

The final weeks of the 2015 season flew by in the conservation lab, where Head Conservator Allison Lewis and Conservation Track student Annie Cannatella worked hard to keep up with the influx of finds and to prepare for the transition to a study season. Allison and Annie assisted with the excavation of multiple fragile copper alloy artifacts on site, and Allison completed the cleaning and stabilization of a group of votive copper alloy objects from 2014 and 2015. Upon discovery of the inscribed stone stele in PC 48, Allison and Annie inspected the stele to assess its condition, and worked with an expert crew from Florence to safely remove the stele from the hilltop. Allison joined Dr. Gregory Warden and Dr. Gretchen Meyers on a visit to the stele’s storage facility in Florence, where they discussed formulating a treatment plan for cleaning the stele so that the inscription can be translated. In preparation for the study season phase of the project, the conservation crew made a big push to ensure that all of the site’s metals are stored in updated dry microenvironments, and to organize the remaining 2015 material still in need of treatment. 


Head Conservator Allison Lewis cleaning and inspecting the stele

Realization that this was the last excavation season didn’t sink in until the conservation supplies were boxed up and moved out of the Casa Cellini. On behalf of all of the past Poggio Colla conservators, interns and students, I (Allison) would like to thank our MVAP colleagues and Italian partners for their support over the years. It has been a true pleasure to assist with the preservation of Poggio Colla’s material culture, and we all look forward to learning more as in-depth study commences in the years to come.


Conservation Track student Annie Cannatella working on ceramic finds

 


Head Conservator Allison Lewis prepares metal finds for safe storage

 

For reports and more information on research projects, see Research. For photographs of key finds from trenches in the recent season, see Finds.

For information on the Conservation Lab, see below. For additional information on the lab and magazzino, visit the Labs page listed under Facilities.

 

About the Conservation Lab

In the conservation lab, conservators and assistant conservators clean, conserve, and label finds. Conservation involves the repair, consolidation, and preservation of material remains. In special cases, our conservators will come up to the site and assist in the removal of fragile remains. Conservation work requires expertise in art history, science, and studio art, and an understanding of archaeological methodology.


2015 Conservation and Illustration Lab:
Allison Lewis, Anne-Marie Cannatella, and JoAnn Boscarino

 


Head Conservator Allison Lewis excavates a find in Trench PC 27.

 


Puzzle: a table of pot sherds to be matched up and joined.

 


Conservation tools and chemicals used in cleaning and joining finds.

 


Axe from Poggio Colla trench being cleaned in conservation lab.

 


Chris White joins and restores fragments of a bucchero oinochoe.