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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Archaeological Glass

by Conservation


behind the scenes , conservation , glass , Archaeological Glass , objects conservation

glass under a microscope


This week in objects conservation: Archaeological glass has been in the lab for the past few months in preparation for a future reinstallation of our Nabatean/Near Eastern collections. As we learned in last month’s objects conservation blog post, archaeological glass is very interesting and poses many conservation challenges. This is a photo of the magnified surface of a glass jar circa 2nd century.  In this photo you can see how deterioration has changed the surface; originally this jar would have had a smooth translucent violet surface. Now, you can see the flakey iridescence of the surface, each color is a different layer of deteriorated surface. You can also see a texture to the surface, modern glass is smooth and even, but this piece is covered with very small pits due to the deterioration of the surface overtime. Though very different from its original appearance, this type of deterioration is still quite beautiful. The objects conservator will work to stabilize the flaking iridescent layers to keep the surface intact for its future display!

Image Credit: Two Handed Glass Jar, circa 2nd century – 3rd century CE, prob. Syria, glass, height 3 15/16 in. (10 cm.), Cincinnati Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Howard E. Wurlitzer, 1930.296.