Effects of cleaning and regard for cleaning goals: Eleven years later

Niccolo Caldararo

Abstract

This paper revisits the 1993 article in North American Archaeologist 14:289-303, “Some effects of the use of ultrasonic devices in conservation and the question of standards for cleaning objects”, and includes a summary of recent research and advances by the author and in the field, including the effects of cleaning on ancient DNA. The paper discusses how both attitudes and needs in the conservation field have changed since 1993 and will reexamine earlier work, especially with regard to ultrasound. The paper includes an assessment of how conservation has responded to the challenge of both technology and changing fashion, focusing on the idea of information lost versus idealized appearance. A number of philosophical and ethical questions are posed.

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