Mosaics on Mosaics on Mosaics

Here’s a short blog post for today. Today was spent entirely in the IAA mosaic lab at the Rockefeller Museum. The lab is in a warehouse behind the museum, filled to the brim with mosaics. The head of the mosaics lab gave us an explanation about mosaic conservation, and then toured us through the lab/warehouse. He said that there were over one thousand meters of mosaics in the warehouse, plus hundreds more in museums around the country. Some of the single mosaic pieces were huge, almost ten meters long! They were in various states of preservation. Some looked like they had just been lifted from an excavation, while others were mounted and framed and looked like they could have been displayed in a museum. I was surprised that we were allowed to take pictures, since it is generally forbidden to take pictures of artifacts in archaeological warehouses, including mosaics.

After the tour we began working on actual mosaics, cleaning the tiles of dirt and debris, preparing them for the rest of the conservation process. For the rest of the day we scraped and picked at the dirt on the tiles, revealing them and cleaning them. It was long, hard work, but very rewarding when the design of the mosaic was visible at the end. I really enjoyed working on the mosaics. Next week we are going to be doing more work with mosaics, and I am looking forward to it!

Written by Ben Douglass, Saving the Stones 7 Intern

Reposted from Ben’s Israel Blog

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