According to Richard Owens in The Times (April 17, 2008), prehistoric treasures unearthed in the Alps as melting glaciers recede are under threat from looters who are removing many of them.Such is the concern for the newly revealed objects - which include weapons, clothing and tools - that a task force of archaeologists, anthropologists, mountain climbers and Alpine rescue teams has been formed in an attempt to salvage them.Franco Nicolis, an archaeologist from Trento, said that mountain climbers and hikers would be asked to report any finds to the task force rather than removing them.The m
In Memoriam John Winter (1936-2008)John Winter, Conservation Scientist in the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, passed away on March 24, 2008.
The Munch Museum in Oslo has announced that two of its most famous paintings are to go back on display after a lengthy conservation project to repair damaged caused following their theft in 2004. Edvard Munch's Scream and Madonna were stolen from the museum by armed robbers in August 2004, and were not recovered until September 2006. Detailed examination of the paintings was subsequently carried out, including Xradiography, ultraviolet and infrared reflectography and analysis of the pigments and binding media.
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.