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Friday, May 17 • 10:00am - 10:30am
(Objects) Traditional Conservation and New Technology: The Preservation of Three Assyrian Reliefs

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The Virginia Theology Seminary (VTS) in Alexandria has held three large-scale Assyrian gypsum relief carvings in their collection for more than 150 years. Being an educational institution and not a museum, they have decided to de-accession one panel while moving the others from their long-term location in a basement wall into a proper display condition. All 3 panels were laser scanned and conserved as part of this work. The treatment of the two that will be retained, and the replication of the other carving presents a study in the issues of care, documentation and replication of these significant artifacts from areas of current conflict and destruction and represents an example of how modern technologies like laser scanning and 3-D printing, in concert with traditional conservation treatment and environmental controlled display cases, intersects to preserve the history of lost places and times. The panels were acquired by the Seminary around 1859 from Dr. Henri Haskell, a missionary connected with the Layard excavations of the palace and temple site of Nimrud in resent-day Iraq. To preserve and reinstall this collection, 9th-century BCE Assyrian Reliefs. The collection consisted of three panels, two low-relief carvings measuring 64” tall x 40” across, depicting eagle-headed figures giving an offering to the sacred tree, and a third larger panel, likely from the same site, depicts a Genie figure. Typical of this type of Assyrian relief, the figures are overlain with cuneiform writing. The VTS started planning for the documentation, de-installation, conservation, and reinstallation of these pieces in early 2017, with the goal of the project being to remove the two eagle-head panels from their existing location in the library basement and put them on display in modern, customized cases in a more publicly accessible space on their campus. The VTS employed a team of conservators, designers, digital scanning and replication technologists, and art handling specialists to documentation, treat, transport, and display of the invaluable works of art that are being preserved in the collection. The one piece that is being de-accessioned will be replicated in modern materials In conjunction with the conservation and preservation of the remaining originals and be displayed alongside them. The 3-D scans will retain the documentation of all panels, including the Genie. This paper will explore the correlation between traditional conservation treatments and the use of new technologies in the preservation of lost heritage. Given the recent intentional destruction of other works from the same area, their survival in the Seminary and now in digital records is instructive. We will discuss the processes used in the treatment and documentation and present the results.

avatar for Kelly Caldwell

Kelly Caldwell

Senior Conservator - Vice President of Operations, CSI Conservation Solutions ULC
As a Senior Conservator for CSI Canada and part of the EverGreene team, Kelly brings a unique perspective to the team based on her previous work experience in architectural and archaeological conservation and preservation, as well as experience in collections management. She holds... Read More →

avatar for Mark Rabinowitz

Mark Rabinowitz

Vice President / Principal Conservator, EverGreene Architectural Arts
Mark Rabinowitz is Vice President and Principal Conservator with EverGreene Architectural Arts. He co-directs the Conservation Division with Joseph Sembrat. Mark served as Deputy Chief of Operations for Preservation at the Central Park Conservancy throughout the 1990s, during which... Read More →
avatar for Silvia Callegari

Silvia Callegari

Assistant Conservator, Evergreene Architectural Arts
Silvia is an Assistant Conservator with EverGreene Architectural Arts, working on several projects in the Washington, DC area. She was awarded a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania (2017) and holds a BA from New York University (2012). At... Read More →

Friday May 17, 2019 10:00am - 10:30am EDT
Salon B1, Uncas Ballroom
  Specialty Session, Objects
  • Track Objects
  • Ticketed Included in Main Registration
  • Authors in Publication Order Kelly Caldwell, Mark Rabinowitz, Silvia Callegari
  • Abstract ID 19063
  • Tags Assyrian Reliefs,gypsum,3-D scanning,treatments