investigative conservation

CSI: Sittingbourne Volunteers & Their Tools

Adapting ‘pin vices’:

Janine and I discussed her progress on investigative conservation of one of the Grave 111 shield studs She has brought in thorns from her garden to use for careful cleaning of the soil and corrosion around the shaft of the stud – this area has mineral preserved wood, reflecting the shield board itself. We got the idea of using thorns after watching conservation work on the Staffordshire Hoard.  Janine feels more comfortable with the softness of her thorn pin vice.

Janice was working in the afternoon on a spearhead from Grave 111, she prefers to use a very fine needle pin tool, that she made herself and brings with her for her sessions, when she is working on an object with fragile or intricate details (eg. mineral preserved textiles).


A volunteer’s tool and X-ray of spearhead from Grave 111

CSI conservation volunteer Janine working on a shield stud from Grave 111



Me, a scalpel and a microscope

A conservator  can reveal a surprising amount of detail just by  controlled mechanical cleaning under a microscope.  The benefit of using a mechanical method is that there is no need to introduce chemicals, and the extent to which material is removed can be immediately observed and controlled.   Here are the results so far of this morning’s investigative mechanical cleaning of a Roman coin from Hamble – one of 30 in the queue!

Copyright Claire Woodhead

Mechanical cleaning - half completed