AATA Online, formerly the Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts, has published its most recent quarterly update in January 2008. The update contains a list of the publications that have been abstracted between October 2007 and January 2008, and shows how many articles have been abstracted from each publication. AATA online has recently added new publications to its core coverage of 150 titles. Following a recent review of these core titles, AATA has commissioned volunteer conservation students to fill in gaps in its abstract database.
Following the announcement (covered in the December 2007 issue of News in Conservation) that the UK's Textile Conservation Centre (TCC) will close in 2009, an online petition has been organised to protest about the closure. The petition, which can only be signed by British citizens or residents, can be found at here. The deadline for signing up is 6 May 2008.
A new centre for research into the conservation of plastics has recently opened in Naples, funded by Italian art collector Maria Pia Incutti. Plart is described as a polyfunctional space dedicated to scientific research and technological innovation for the recovery, restoration and conservation of works of art and design in plastic.
The iconic Namdaemun gate in Seoul, South Korea, was badly damaged by fire following an arson attack in February. A fire broke out in the evening of 10 February 2008, destroying the wooden parts of the upper gate, but leaving the lower stone parts intact. Two disposable lighters were found at the scene, and 69-year-old Chae Jong-gi was arrested shortly afterwards, having admitted pouring paint thinner over the gate and setting it alight.
Zahi Hawass, head the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, recently suggested that Egypt might pass laws to copyright its historic monuments and artefacts, including the pyramids. If passed, the laws would apply to any full-scale, accurate replicas of artefacts, or to images of monuments that were intended for commercial use. Hawass said that any money raised from copyright payments would be used for the conservation of monuments and sites in Egypt.
Europa Nostra, the pan-European Federation for Heritage, has launched a campaign to save historic architecture in Moscow and St Petersburg. The organisation is appealing to Russia' s President Putin to safeguard the historic core of St Petersburg by preventing construction of a 396m high skyscraper for the new headquarters of Gazprom, Russia's energy monopoly. The skyscraper would rise three times higher than the city's tallest spire, and 8 times higher than the surrounding building height permitted by local regulations.
The Baghdad National Museum has completed restoration of its Islamic and Assyrian galleries following their closure in 2003. The galleries are among 14 halls in the museum that were closed following damage caused by looters. The museum lost around 15 000 items during the looting, only 4 000 of which have ever been recovered. The two refurbished galleries will not be reopened to the public until better security measures have been put in place.
Sydney is in danger of running out of local sandstone to repair its nineteenth-century buildings, according to a team of conservators working for the New South Wales government. Much of the city is built in a soft, golden sandstone that is noted for its rich colour and its uniformity. However, many of the local quarries have now been built over or disused, making it difficult for the conservators to obtain suitable stone for replacements and repairs.
The tea clipper Cutty Sark, which was damaged by a fire in May 2007, has been awarded £10 million for conservation costs by the UK's Heritage Lottery Fund. The story of the fire and its immediate aftermath was covered in the August 2007 issue of News in Conservation.
Following a meeting in December of more than 100 conservators in Tel Aviv, Israel now has a professional body for conservation. The new organisation will be known as the Israeli Society for the Conservation and Preservation of Cultural Property, and will bring together conservators in the private and public sectors. The organisation will be involved in professional conservation matters, including training, continuing professional development and the representation of conservators in the legal and political arenas.