The Archaeological Materials Conservation Laboratory
Recognizing the importance of local archaeological evidence to the accuracy of the reconstruction of Williamsburg, conservators of archaeological materials have been part of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation since the 1930’s. The current Archaeological Materials Conservation Laboratory continues the work begun at that early date. The purpose of archaeological conservation is to stabilize recovered objects, slow their deterioration, and provide as much information as possible to archaeologists to help them better understand the site and the way it was used. Stabilization may begin on site, with the careful support and lifting of fragile objects. It continues in the lab, with the removal of salts and other contaminants that have soaked into the object during burial. At each step there is the potential for discovery. Archaeological conservation is a collaborative process in which the object-based research complements and is informed by the work on the site itself.