Following our blog about the staff Conservation Training Day held by Lynn Wootten, our conservator, at our head office in Salisbury in September, we were contacted by CAMP (Community Archaeology on the Mendip Plateau) who wanted to arrange something similar for its members. And so on the morning of 25 November a group of CAMP members visited our office, and brought along some examples of metalwork, as they were particularly keen to learn about how to best look after such material. 
Lynn’s presentation provided background information on the kinds of preservation you might expect in different environments, and how changes in those environments affect different materials. She described what conditions affect an artefact’s survival in the ground, from the soil’s acidity/alkalinity, to the presence of oxygen and ground salts, and biological activity. She then talked about how objects should be lifted on site and transported, and some of the methods by which they are conserved, and she demonstrated the best methods of packing and storing them, including the appropriated use of silica gel where relevant.
The group was very enthusiastic about the training session, and expressed an interest in coming back to make further use of our finds and environmental expertise, in particular to look in detail at some of their objects and get some x-rays done.
If you too are interested, Lynn can provide similar training for your local group, society or in-house archaeologists. We speak from experience, as many of our own staff have also benefitted from her expertise, and have felt much better informed after attending these very interesting and enjoyable sessions.
Contact Lynn Wootten for more information.