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27 September 2013

Hoard Placement by Chi Chun, Lin

Hello, I’m Chi Chun, Lin. I’m currently studying MSc degree of Conservation Practice at Cardiff University. This summer, I have had the great fortune to be an intern working with the Staffordshire Hoard Conservation team and with Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery Conservator, Alex Cantrill.

I spent nearly one month conserving the Hoard objects. Let me introduce some of these fantastic objects.

This amazing artefact is a small gold cross with a cabochon red garnet setting in the centre (fig.1). It is from the new finds that were discovered in December 2012.

The gold cross before treatment

Fig.1 The gold cross before treatment.

Although the object was damaged it is physically stable. It was covered with sandy soil, but the decorative patterns were still visible. However, one of its arms is bent outward and curled back. Because of this, you can see there is a visible crack on the surface (fig.2).

The crack on the back

Fig.2. The crack on the back.

Each arm is decorated with scrolls of fine filigree wire.  In addition, there are larger beaded wires decorating the edges (fig.3).

The vortex patterns and the twisted wire

Fig.3 The vortex patterns and the twisted wire.

K303 (fig. 4) is a cross that is also decorated with fine beaded wire scrolls and coils.  The lovely cruciform object K820 is decorated with garnet cloisonné on each arm and a glass inlay in the centre. The size and form of K820 and the small cross are similar: they both have a small hole for a pin and one bent arm.

K303 The pectoral cross

Fig.4 K303 The pectoral cross.

K820 cloisonné cross

Fig.5 K820 cloisonné cross.

This is a gold pommel top (fig.6) that I treated during my internship.

Gold pommel top with interwoven patterns

Fig.6 Gold pommel top with interwoven patterns.

There are interlaced filigree ornaments which are shaped like pretzels on the front and back. On the profile side, there are rope patterns and an interwoven pattern. And tiny beaded wires are running over the edges and surrounding the shape of the object. These refined patterns made this fantastic object look prestigious.

After conservation, the lump of soil in the inner area was completely removed. The joins could be seen, which showed the construction of the pommel and it became clear that it was formed from different pieces and joined at the edges (fig.7). The pommel was in two separate pieces and because of the small surface edges it was necessary to join them with Japanese tissue paper and conservative grade adhesive which is visible in the image below.

The inner view of gold pommel

Fig.7 The inner view of gold pommel.

During my time at Birmingham I did not only hide myself in the conservation lab, but also met the public and talked with people. We had two events this summer, the first one was an archaeological day (fig 8) and other was the Hoard in-gallery cleaning event. The archaeology event was aimed at children and we helped them to clean fun ‘objects’ under the microscope.

Archaeology day

Fig 8 Archaeology day.

In the Hoard in-gallery cleaning event, we moved our lab into the gallery so visitors could see the treatment of Hoard objects by conservators. We conserved the objects and explained the conservation process to them (fig 9).

The Hoard Event on 22-24 August

Fig 9 The Hoard in-gallery cleaning event on 22-24 August.

Visitors were excited about seeing us dealing with these objects, and they also asked many questions.  It was a great chance to let people know what conservation is and to show what we had been working on recently.

Chi Chun, Lin

Cardiff University Masters Student