Last week Wessex Archaeology Conservator, Lynn Wootten gave a training day at their head office in Salisbury. The presentation gave staff the opportunity to learn about preservation and burial environments with some simple rules for retrieving and preserving fragile material. Factors affecting the survival of bone, metal, textile and organic matter as well as glass and stone were looked at and some case studies were examined. Ground conditions and the environments in which they are found have different effects on the artefacts and ecofacts and their preservation.

The day also included very useful training on the physical protection of finds being brought back from site or for storage in archives, which included looking at how to use packing material and closely controlled environments, including different types of silica gel and how this can be used not just to keep objects dry, but to keep them at their ‘ideal’ humidity. The insight into packing material and how the objects themselves can react or be affected by them as well as each other was fascinating.
Wessex Archaeology has often created short or long term displays of artefacts for clients or for their own events and open days and Lynn gave some tips and tricks for these displays as well as a reminder about the environments in which these artefacts are displayed.
She ended the day with some case studies of x-rays and the information that can come from them and the different features that can appear at different exposures – even the most unpromising looking lump may have an interesting object revealed within!
All in all it was a very interesting day and the staff from different teams all felt they’d learned a lot from such an informative and knowledgeable speaker. 
If you would like Lynn to provide this training day for your local group, society or archaeology team please contact Lynn for details
By Lorraine Mepham, Senior Manager