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Thursday, May 16 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
10. Cleaning Strategies and Techniques for Pre-Hispanic Funerary Bundles

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Cleansing of funerary bundles is an irreversible procedure, which removes both deteriorating agents and its effects, but this removal is limited only to what puts the object’s preservation at risk. In the case of pre-Hispanic mummy bundles, historic criteria prevails over aesthetics when referred to cleansing, this is the reason why some deposits, stains and attachments are considered direct products of the depositional processes or even of the actual burial activities conducted by the pre-Hispanic groups, turning into an important information source that cannot be retrieved. This condition impacts on the decision-making process during the conservation procedures and makes professionals think about not only about the importance but necessity to conduct an integral diagnosis to determine which deteriorating agents should remain and which should be removed. A proper diagnosis will allow to better understand the conservation degree and will orient the formulation of a cleansing strategy. To this end, we propose to consider four fundamental aspects: First, to have biosafety regulations that guarantee the physical wellbeing of the personnel in charge of the task. Second, to count with specific technical procedures to manipulate the mummy bundle during the intervention process, which will significantly reduce or avoid improvisation and damages caused by manipulation. Third, the identification and development of cleansing techniques specifically designed to fulfill the object’s preservation needs. The best recommended practices would be manual cleaning, focused absorption cleansing, microsuction, suction with protection, microsuction with protection and selective chemical cleansing. These types of cleansing are selected according to the preservation degree of the intervention area, the desired results and the equipment that will be utilized. Finally, a fourth aspect to consider is sample recollection. Considering that cleansing is an irreversible procedure, sampling allows to amplify or recover archaeological information of the storage conditions, among others. The development of these four aspects were applied to the preservation process of a collection of 100 pre-Hispanic mummy bundles from Peru with a range of physic conditions. This allowed us to conduct proper cleansing procedures but mainly to orient our decisions and discriminate which deteriorating agents should be removed and through which specific technique, without altering or removing those that would allow to get further insights of the making process of the mummy bundle and the funerary activity imprints related to them.

avatar for Selene Figueroa

Selene Figueroa

Conservadora de la Colección de Fardos Funerarios, Museo de Sitio Arturo Jiménez Borja-Puruchuco
Selene Figueroa holds a degree in Andean archeology from the San Marcos University, Lima-Peru, and she is a specialist in conservation of archaeological cultural property by the “Yachay Wasi” Conservation and Restoration Institute. She has carried out several studies on the conservation... Read More →

Thursday May 16, 2019 3:30pm - 4:00pm EDT
Uncas Ballroom Foyer Sky Convention Center, Mohegan Sun