20 July, 1998

7/20/98 A Day in the lab

*** Our barge comes in - safety meeting at 8 A.M. - learning and practicing artifact conservation in the lab ***

When we got up this morning our barge was here with our four-wheeler, stove, refrigerator and the rest of our camp. Aaron and I will never see the camp built but the four-wheeler might save us some time. All day long crews loaded and unloaded the barge as Deering residents watched.

At 8 A.M. we had our safety meeting with all of the construction crew. Rick Reanier (our leader) asked that we clarify safety issues with regards to archeologists working in backhoe trenches. It is the responsibility of the archeologists to monitor every inch of the excavation, and we are concerned about the dangers [backhoes, cave-ins], especially in the trenches.

During the day, I learned about artifact preservation in the lab from our conservation specialist Randy Peterson. Randy carefully explained cleaning procedures and preservation techniques using acetone, Acryloid B-72 and Rhoplex AC-33. The idea behind preservation is to clean the artifact without damaging it, then preserve the artifact without damage in a manner that is reversible. I spent the rest of the day with the unique privilege of conserving artifacts that are around 1000 years old.


Today in the field was very successful. With the transit in operation we were able to accurately map each artifact as it was removed, instead of just labeling it conservation 1,2 or 3. It really sped up the operation.

We met the new plumber for Village Safe Water, Ben Deering. His name is quite a coincidence, but it gets better. The town Deering was named after a schooner that was shipwrecked nearby at the turn of the century. What's more is that Ben's ancestors were shipbuilders, and they built a ship named Deering, which was lost at sea about 150 years ago and no one ever heard of it again!

Our barge.

Bonita Barr, Randy Peterson and Susie Barr working in the lab.

The UIC (Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation) field laboratory in Deering.

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