Maritime Archaeology Interns at the Iziko Museum

The day of an archaeologist is comprised of staring at artifacts, carrying artifacts (Note that back injuries are common in this field) doing research on the artifacts, recording the artifacts and occasionally venturing out into the field to retrieve artifacts or work on a site. Therefore, a day in the life of an archaeologist is not really about the archaeologist himself but rather the artifacts with which he works, and so we humbly present, for your satisfaction…

JOURNEY OF THE CANNON BALL

Please note: No Cannon Balls were harmed in the making of this short story.

Cannonball in sea water

Cannonball in sea water

In the womb:

The Cannon Ball is removed from the sea bed by archaeologists and then placed in a container of water, here it will sit in caustic soda until all the bad salts have been removed and it is ready to be taken out and continue on its journey through the conservation process.

Birth: (water is broken)

Cannon Ball is removed from its container of water, cleaned and left to dry. (Some hammering and chiseling is done to remove excess concretion and flakey bits, this can be a messy and lengthy process for both the archaeologist as well as the Cannon ball).

Archaeology interns monitor the cannonball

Archaeology interns monitor the cannonball

Monitoring: (The Incubator)

Cannon Ball is taken to the working station, where it is left and monitored for a few days. In this time the cannon ball will dry and the archaeologists and conservators will assess its stability, as well as remove the Caustic soda (which may continue to appear like a rash) with a fibre-glass brush. Note: Archaeologists and Conservators will encounter various invisible and somewhat painful splinters during this stage.

Applying tannic acid to the cannonball

Applying tannic acid to the cannonball

Christening: (First layer of Tannic acid)

Phase 1: The Cannon Ball receives its first layer of Tannic Acid, and is left to dry. The corrosion will be monitored, and the Cannon ball may crack and seep during this time. The outer surface may continue to crumble.

Phase 2: After further monitoring, it receives its second layer of Tannic acid, and is left to dry again.

Weighing, measuring, and photographing the cannonball

Weighing, measuring, and photographing the cannonball

Applying for an I.D:

The Cannon Ball is given a number (Accession number), it is then weighed, photographed and measured. It is now part of a register and will one day be part of the greater collection in the store room.

All the cannonballs together, waiting for a future exhibition

All the cannonballs together, waiting for a future exhibition

Graduating:

The Cannon ball is awarded with a coat of Microcrystaline wax, it is then moved to the store room where it is free to find its place among the many other artifacts which have already graduated and moved there. The Cannon Ball may then be selected in the future (if it proves stable enough), to become a display in one of many exhibits.

The end.