Smith’s St. Leonard Site Update – Field Conservation

Occasionally, an artifact “in situ” (that has not been moved from where it was originally deposited) is so fragile that special methods for removing the object must be used. Such was the case at the Smith’s slave quarter when an iron object was discovered that was so degraded that staff could not identify it. Conservator Nichole Doub was called on to perform a “lift”. First, the archaeologists excavated around the object so that it was sitting on a slightly raised block of soil. Then Nichole applied a soft support consisting of strips of linen that had been soaked thoroughly with Paraloid B-44. The soft support conforms to the shape of the artifact and, as it dries, it hardens to form a cradle to hold the fragile pieces of the object in place. Once the support was dry, the soil underneath the object was loosened and Nichole braced the encased object with something rigid (voila the dustpan), and flipped it over.

Applying the soft support

Loosening the soil underneath the object

Object lifted and ready to be transported to the Lab


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