Krysia Spyridowicz, Queen's University, Conservator
Bridget Marx, Southern Methodist University, Senior Curator
Megan Emory, Buffalo State University, Conservation Assistant
Janis Mandrus, Queen's University, Conservation Assistant
Vicki Karas, Queen's University, Conservation Assistant
Na'Cole Trujillo, Laboratory Assistant


Week 5:


Monday morning was a bit different for when Bridget stumbled around the corner and stepped into the kitchen wiping her eyes, as she is want to do in the morning, she was rubbing not the dust from that morning's student runs up the hill, but instead sleep. For you see, for the first time since the excavation started five weeks ago, all vehicles are up and running and all drivers present and accounted for. A rarity at Poggio Colla, but one that we hope will continue through the end of the season.

So as Bridget stood in the doorway trying to remember how to make tea and getting used to the 7 AM church bells outside of the kitchen window, she was also contemplating her fellow housemates/co-workers and the week that is to come.

Ann Steiner with her student Jennifer Polguy in the magazzino extention.

Krysia has been hard at work this season overseeing the conservation side of things in the lab here at Poggio Colla. This is not an easy feat during a typical year, and when you consider that there is a third conservation student in the mix, as well as multiple calls from the field for conservators to block lift objects AND a secondary "lab" at one of the excavation houses for the pithos reconstruction one becomes quite impressed with how she maintains her calm demeanor and presence of mind. But then again it's also probably her power cereal in the morning that keeps her going all day long.

Krysia Spyridowicz cleans a ceramic sherd before bonding it to the vessel base.

Flanking Krysia at the morning breakfast table are her two students from Queen's College, Janis and Vicky. In unison they lift their yogurt spoons to their mouths, eyes transfixed at the empty wall behind each other, reflecting on the work ahead. Vicky anxiously awaits the completion of her large carbon feature that was blocklifted earlier in the season from PC 23. The consolidation process is almost complete and hopefully analysis can soon begin by Dr. Greg Warden, so he can tell her what it's all about! Janis, who has somehow managed to untangle herself from her giant covering of mosquito netting covering her bed (we mock her only because we are all jealous that we did not think to bring any!), looks forward to several vessels in various stages of completion.

Vicki Karas working on a large ceramic fragment.


Janis Mandrus uses a microscope to clean the surface of a small find.

Megan, who is known for making large American style breakfasts on the weekend (much to her roommate's delight!) sits before a simple bowl of cereal this morning, scowling at the Italian coffee pot that has somehow screwed her out of coffee for yet another morning. But her joyous energy will somehow get her through the day of working on numerous small objects, all of which recall the mantra of most excavators here at Poggio Colla: "It's not what we find, but what we find out about." FYI Megan is finding out about a lot of stuff, even without her coffee.

Megan Emory consolidating a small find.

Na'Cole, who squeezes every last minute of sleep out of the morning, often bounds into the kitchen grabs a piece of fruit and is ready to face the day, no matter what odds or ends come her way.

Na'Cole Trujillo cataloguing finds in the magazzino.

Bridget, meanwhile, has somehow managed to pour hot water over her tea bag, throw in some sugar, slop in some milk and head out the door for the lab, looking forward to an early cookie break, aka "breakfast."

Robin Lineback, working on finds in the lab, displays her polka dot cast.

HIGHTLIGHT of the WEEK: Fans of the conservation webpage might have been a bit confused by the highlight of the week two weeks ago: a simple photograph of some pitcher plants. A bit of an explanation is in need. The garden shop that we cut through in order to walk to and from the apartment and lab received a shipment of carnivorous plants and these guys quickly became a lab favorite due to their "unusual" shape. Apparently we talked a bit too much about them, for Kathy showed up one morning with a little gift for us, our very own plant. He stays in the lab during the day, and we take him home with us in the evening, and if we get the courage, we will eventually even take him to dinner.

Megan Emory and Bridget Marx admiring their gift.

Week 6:

Busy week = Short Web Report

Krysia Spyridowicz and Janis Mandrus (foreground). Megan Emory and Vicki Karas (background).

The conservators are working hard, trying to cope with the flood of artifacts coming in at the end of the season. It looks like we will be spending the final weekend mostly in the lab.

Vicki Karas andK rysia Spyridowicz working in the field.

We just had an amazing field trip to the Bargello Museum in Florence. Our head conservator, Krysia, was able to arrange a visit to the "field lab" set up in the Bargello to treat the bronze statue of "David" created by the Renaissance artist, Verrocchio. The conservators met with the head restorer for the project and were able to discuss the treatments in detail with her. Conservation of the statue will be completed shortly, enabling it to travel to the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia where it will be exhibited over the winter.

Robin Lineback cleaning diagnostic pan tiles in the lab.

With the entire conservation team in Florence, it was a relatively quite day in the lab with just Bridget, Na'Cole and Robin processing the season's finds in preparation for storage during the off season. The silence was even more deadening because our chipper researcher, Ann Steiner, completed her work for the season and headed home. As new pieces of black glaze come in from the fields, we look wistfully at her desk, wishing to share, but excited we will have something to show her at the start of next season.

Left: Nikki Trujillo in the darkroom. Right: Bridget Marx in the magazzino with a bucchero fragment.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: Limes, for those familiar with the conservation web page, you know this means good G&T's!