Because the olpe will be used for research and teaching at the museum, Amaris’s treatment will be shaped by the need to preserve evidence of its construction, use, age, and burial. She plans to remove the old adhesives, consolidate the surface to stop future loss to the decoration and break edges, and reconstruct the olpe sherds with a new, stable adhesive. At the same time, she will continue working to identify the adhesives applied in earlier restoration campaigns and also to determine if weathering, or something else entirely, formed a foggy, blanched silicate layer on the surface of the sherds. Another research goal, in line with studies being done at the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, is to better understand how the olpe was made and fired to produce the recognizable glossy black-figure designs. When Amaris’s treatment and study are complete, the olpe will be returned to the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum. Amaris hopes her work will help other researchers in the future as they attempt to better understand the olpe and its mysteries.
A printable PDF version of this story is available here. Images: WUDPAC Fellow Amaris Sturm removing degraded adhesive using an enzyme gel and a dental tool; degraded joins are separated by softening the adhesive with the controlled application of water using a stiff Agarose gel. (Photos: Amaris Sturm, Claire Taggart.)