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WUDPAC Class of 2022 Fellow Nylah Byrd inpainting the plaster fills. (Image: Tessa de Alarcon. Courtesy of the Penn Museum .)
I'm spending the first part of my third-year internship at the Penn Museum, which is an Archaeological and Anthropological museum on the University of Pennsylvania Campus. Here is a summary of two treatment projects I've done so far:
I finished treatment on a ceramic plate from the archaeological site Pachacamac in Peru. Clay plates like these are called pucu. This type of shallow plate is one of the most frequently occurring vessel forms in the Inca state assemblage. The most common type of shallow plate has a zoomorphic head, which is most often a bird. These plates may have been used as drinking ladles for soups or stews. The plate was previously adhered together with an unknown fill material that shrank over time and unfortunately dislocated some of the ceramic as it shrank. I removed the fill material with acetone using a combination of solvent chambers, poulticing, and mechanical action. I then re-assembled the ceramic using B-72 and plaster fills. I inpainted the plaster fills to match the base color of the ceramic as desired by the curator for the object.
I am almost finished with treatment of an archaeological bronze wine set from the site of Tall as-Sa'idiyya in Jordan. There are four pieces in the set: a juglet, strainer, wine bowl, and laver. The juglet, strainer, and laver required treatment while the wine bowl is stable. This set was thought to have belonged to royalty, as it was found in a burial with an important figure and other lavish goods. The juglet and strainer are corroded together, however I treated them as two separate objects as much as possible. On the juglet I removed the overpaint on two small fills and re-painted them as the fills themselves seemed stable. On the strainer I removed overpaint, and fills, and re-adhered the handle that had broken off. The laver is currently in progress and I have completed the disassembly stage of that treatment.
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Laver mid disassembly. (Image: Nylah Byrd. Courtesy of the Penn Museum.)
Archival image of wine set in situ. (Courtesy of Penn Museum Archives.)
I will finish up the wine set treatment project before transitioning to the library and archives portion of my third-year internship at the Stephen Miller Library Conservation Laboratory located in Van Pelt library on UPenn's campus.
— Nylah Byrd, WUDPAC Class of 2022