The Agora Conservation Laboratory Internship Program coincides with the summer excavation season which runs from June until August. The Conservation Laboratory functions as an integral part of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA), Agora Excavations. Its aim is to support the Excavations by providing services that contribute to the study and understanding of the area.
Agora conservation internships give students an opportunity to treat freshly excavated archaeological finds and to participate in an active excavation. An introduction to the re-treatment, preventive and long-term care of archaeological collections is also provided.
Under the supervision and guidance of the Agora Conservation staff, interns carry out general conservation duties including: examination and analysis of artifacts (for example, the identification of materials and manufacturing techniques), documentation, cleaning, reconstruction, restoration, and photography of artifacts from the current excavation and from storage. In doing so, students have the opportunity to work with a variety of materials including ceramics, stone, glass, copper alloys, iron, lead, bone and occasionally ivory and wood from the Neolithic to Byzantine periods. In addition, the interns are encouraged to participate in group projects which may be either treatment-based or aimed at upgrading an aspect of storage. Students also participate in short talks and workshops in which general conservation practices are demonstrated and discussed with archaeologists, student volunteer excavators, visitors, and group tours. The aim of these activities is to communicate the basic principals of preservation and conservation to specialists in archaeology, students, and the general public.
Agora internships are undertaken by students in partial fulfillment of degree requirements for recognized programs of study in the conservation of material culture. Upon successful completion of their academic program, graduates are able to pursue careers in the field of conservation.
Meet the interns employed by the Agora for summer 2010:
Lower step - Amandina Anastassiades, Karen Lovén.
Upper Step - Ciarán Lavelle, LeeAnn Barnes Gordon, Kate Sullivan, Elizabeth Murphy
LeeAnn Barnes Gordon completed a bachelor of arts at the University of Minnesota in Anthropology with a minor in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. She is now entering her third and final year as a graduate fellow in Objects Conservation at the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC). Next fall she will begin an 11-month internship at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology at the University of Michigan.
I am thrilled to participate in the conservation internship at such a significant site as the Athenian Agora, where I have the opportunity to work with incredible materials. I sincerely thank the Kress Foundation for the funding that has enabled me to undertake this internship. In addition, I am grateful to the Rosenberg Foundation and WUDPAC’s Student Professional Development Fund for providing me with additional funding to visit significant cultural heritage sites in the Mediterranean region.
Ciarán Lavelle is from County Armagh, Ireland and recently graduated from Cardiff University with a BSc in Conservation of Objects for Archaeology and Museums. He previously obtained a degree in Archaeology and Palaeoecology from Queens University, Belfast and a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Studies and Cultural Heritage from the University of Ulster. Ciarán has worked as a professional archaeologist throughout Ireland.
Working on one of the most important urban sites in the ancient world is an exciting challenge and a great learning experience both as an archaeologist and a conservator from a rural archaeological background. I am very grateful to the Zibby Garnett Traveling Fellowship and Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works in Ireland to make this fantastic opportunity to work in the Athenian Agora with the American School of Classical Studies at Athens possible.
Kate Sullivan is from Plainfield, Ontario Canada. She completed an undergraduate degree in Classical Archaeology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo Ontario. She is about to enter her second and final year of the Master of Art Conservation program at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
Interning at the Agora has provided a wonderful opportunity to both expand my skills and knowledge and work with the type of materials that first sparked my interest in conservation. I am incredibly grateful for the funding provided by the Kress Foundation and Mrs. Annamaria Bamji, who sponsors the Bamji Award in Art Conservation through Queen’s University.
Elizabeth Murphy is originally from New York City, and now lives in Buffalo, NY where she has just completed her first year of the Art Conservation masters degree program at Buffalo State College. Having previously worked in library and museum conservation labs, this is her first experience on an archaeological excavation. She has a degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in art history and classics and another degree from Lehman College of the City University of New York in printmaking.
I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to supplement my time in the classroom with this time on-site at the Agora. Working on such a variety of material has greatly added to my understanding of archaeological conservation. And when else will I ever get to walk past the Parthenon everyday on my way to work? I am grateful to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation for making this internship possible.