Archaeological conservation is the profession devoted to the preservation of objects, structures, and sites that constitute the archaeological record. These materials are primary resources for understanding and interpreting the past. Archaeological remains may come from terrestrial or marine environments and can be made from a wide variety of inorganic and organic materials including metal, stone, ceramic, bone, wood, plant fiber and skin. The moment these materials are uncovered, they are at risk of rapid and irreversible deterioration.

Archaeological conservators work to ensure the long-term preservation of these materials for future study and research. Beyond the treatment of freshly excavated finds, archaeological conservation includes strategies for ongoing collaboration with archaeological colleagues, adequate curation methods, management of and access to these materials, as well as exhibition and display. Conservators of archaeological material may work for museums or other cultural institutions, teach in academic programs, work on archaeological or historical sites, or work in private practice.

The Archaeological Discussion Group (ADG) is a working group within AIC’s Objects Specialty Group and is open to all AIC members with an interest in archaeological conservation.

 

Janelle Batkin-Hall and Suzanne Davis at El Kurru, Sudan

Goals

  • Advocate for professional ethics, practices, and standards in the conservation of archaeological materials and sites.
  • Promote communication between archaeological conservators within AIC.
  • Facilitate interdisciplinary relationships and communication between the AIC and the archaeological profession.
  • Provide an archaeological perspective toward AIC objectives.

Group Objectives

  • Organize and connect archaeological conservators within AIC using AIC’s MemberFuse platform, listservs, and other tools. 
  • Form and engage working groups to focus on goals and activities. 
  • Increase exposure through strengthening the group’s presence on the AIC website, blog, Facebook, and archaeological listservs.
  • Develop professional development opportunities such as workshops or courses for 2015-16.
  • Develop web resources for archaeological conservators including the Archaeological Conservation pages on the AIC Wiki.
  • Develop guidelines regarding the ethics and practice of archaeological conservation.
  • Continue to facilitate professional connections between archaeological conservators and Archaeological projects, as well as outreach to the archaeological community.
  • Develop programming for AIC Annual Meetings or stand-alone conferences.
  • Consider organizing a focus group that will identify some of the most pressing problems in conserving archaeological materials and sites today. 

Leadership

The Co-chairs of the Archaeological Discussion Group are Molly Gleeson and Francis Lukezic. To view their contact information, search for them in the online member directory.

Business Meetings

The ADG holds a Business Meeting at the AIC Annual Meeting to discuss the progress of the group’s activities and to plan future projects. This meeting is open to all Annual Meeting attendees. The time and location of the meeting can be found in the Annual Meeting program.

Join the Discussion

Participation in the ADG is open to all AIC members with an interest in archaeological conservation. The group does not have a unique AIC listserv, and therefore general discussions regarding archaeological conservation should be posted to MemberFuse, the ADG Facebook page, and the OSG listserv as appropriate.To participate and to send messages to members, register on MemberFuse by logging into your account on the AIC website, and joining the Archaeological Conservation group under "Groups." You can also join the discussion on the ADG Facebook page.

AIC Blog

ADG solicits and encourages posts on the topic of archaeological conservation for the AIC Blog. Related posts can be found in the “Search by Category” menu under “Topics: Archaeological Conservation,” or by searching the following Tags: archaeological conservation, archaeology, ADG, and outreach.

ADG History

The Archaeological Discussion Group was formed in 1999 following discussions at the AIC Annual Meeting in Arlington, VA (1998).

Emily Williams, Melba Myers, and Betty Seifert invited all conservators listing archaeological objects as an area of specialization to meet and discuss the feasibility of setting up a forum for archaeological conservators within the AIC.

  • Emily Williams served as chair of the ADG from 1999 to 2009.
  • Susanne Grieve and Claudia Chemello served as the co-chairs of the ADG from 2009 to 2014.
  • LeeAnn Barnes Gordon served as chair from 2014-2016.

Mission

The Archaeological Discussion Group is devoted to safeguarding world archaeological heritage and the evidence it preserves of our human past. Our mission is to promote communication between conservators and allied professionals and to represent the interests of the archaeological conservation profession.