Archaeologists and avocational conservators: Compromising principles or increasing awareness?

Susanne Grieve


Throughout history, humans have attempted to accomplish the impossible and to explore unknown places. In many cases, after the expeditions are done or equipment is no longer needed, it is discarded or left in situ, undisturbed. With the changes in the environment, explosion in population, and the expansion of technology, more of these desolate and isolated environments that contain cultural heritage are becoming exposed and, in many cases, used by humans and protected wildlife. Conservators and preservation specialists are facing new ethical and practical challenges to ensure the delicate balance of preserving material culture while considering the effects of the environment are maintained. Many of these objects from human history are constructed of wood and are deteriorating as a result of human and environmental actions. This presentation evaluates conservation efforts of wooden materials in isolated environments and seeks to answer the question of why we preserve them when there are so many challenges.