Conserving Fragments Of Icons: Clay Votive Plaques From Hirbemerdon Tepe, Turkey

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Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Abend, Karen; Caspi, Sara; Laneri, Nicola;


Conservation and the Eastern Mediterranean: Contributions to the 2010 IIC Congress, Istanbul, p.157-164 (2010)


One of the small sites that dot the upper Tigris River valley in Turkey, Hirbemerdon Tepe is unique for its dominant feature: a well-preserved monumental complex dating to the first half of the second millennium bce. In this context a series of ceremonial objects were excavated, including the fragments of six clay votive plaques decorated with painted, incised and applied anthropomorphic and geometric motifs. The discovery of the ancient and possibly deliberate breakage of the plaques provides important information about the life history of these objects and instigated a dialogue about how such evidence should be approached during conservation treatment. The argument is enhanced through reconstruction of their life histories, and also by drawing on recent advances in the field of fragmentation theory in archaeological research. Challenges encountered during the conservation treatment of the plaques are discussed followed by future plans for their exhibition in the Diyarbakir Archaeological Museum.