Deep storage: Reburial as a conservation tool

Emily Williams

Abstract

Reburial is increasingly being considered as a conservation tool to help preserve archaeological materials and to relieve the pressure on already strained curation facilities. This paper will examine the rationale and ethics behind this trend and consider as a case study the recent reburial of architectural material excavated in the early 1930s and 1940s by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The sheer volume of the material and the need to manage it responsibly has, in the past, had a detrimental effect on the accessibility and care of other segments of the collection. After much consideration, controlled reburial was chosen as a storage option for portions of this material. The approach chosen for reburial will be assessed and potential future modifications discussed.