JAIC 1997, Volume 36, Number 1, Article 4 (pp. 49 to 58)
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Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1997, Volume 36, Number 1, Article 4 (pp. 49 to 58)




The antiquities trade poses difficult issues for the conservation profession. A growing awareness of the problems involved has prompted some conservators to call for a re-examination of the conservator's role in treating unprovenanced archaeological material (Tubb 1995; Jaeschke 1996; Tubb and Sease 1996). While the profession may never reach a consensus on what is right, and indeed it may only be possible to deal with each case on an individual basis, it is important for conservators to think about these issues and discuss them openly. This is only way we can hope to develop meaningful yet realistic standards of practice. As Jaeschke (1996, 84) states, any conservator who works on archaeological material must recognize that “archaeological conservation is a part of archaeology; it is not an adjunct of the art market or an independent process.” And this brings with it certain responsibilities to the archaeological record. If conservators choose to work on archaeological masterial, they must at least do so with a full understanding of the possible effects and repercussions of their actions.

Copyright 1997 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works