TILLSTÅNDSBEDÖMNINGAR En metodutveckling med sidenfragment från Birka som utgångspunkt
Condition assessments: A development of methodology based on silk fragments from Birka
Despite being an indispensable assessment tool and an ethical obligation in the conservation of cultural heritage, traditional condition assessments encompass several shortcomings that reduce their ability to act as substantiated and unambiguous support for decision-making related to interventive and preventive conservation treatments. Integrating opposing theories in the conservation of cultural heritage generates a method that intends to resolve these shortcomings. Traditional condition assessments, by adopting a material-based approach, concentrate on identifying changes in the physical fabric of the object to arrest physical decay. Value-based approaches emphasize that conservation primarily must focus on the preservation and enhancement of cultural heritage values and significance. In the present study, integrating material-based and value-based conservation approaches derives a comprehensive methodology for condition assessments that includes a value assessment, a statement of significance, an object description, a condition description and a concluding condition assessment. This methodology has been applied to a case study consisting of a selection of silk fragments from the excavation of Birka in the Swedish History Museum collection. The methodology succeeds in processing condition descriptions into condition assessments that consider cultural heritage values and significance, thereby relating tangible and intangible features. Consequently, condition assessments become more relevant. Risk assessments seem to provide condition assessments with essential executive functions. By including transparent descriptions of intuitive knowledge, visual inspections can profit from connoisseurship as a research method. Visual inspections should advantageously be combined with microscopic and advanced photographic techniques whereof micro-RTI proves to be particularly effective in this study. Employing scientific analysis that accords with the aim of the condition assessment can contribute to the assessment’s reliability. However, some methods of scientific analysis, in this study ATR-FTIR, can interfere with the concepts of minimal intervention and reversibility. Condition assessments can obtain a satisfactory level of reliability without employing such scientific analysis. By making value judgments, choice of research methods, and data analysis explicit, condition assessments are better equipped to support decision-making in collection management.
Uppsats för avläggande av filosofie kandidatexamen med huvudområdet kulturvård med inriktning mot konservering 2022, 180 hp Grundnivå 2022:7
archaeological textile conservation, condition assessment, decision-making in collection management, Micro Reflectance Transformation Imaging (micro-RTI), statement of significance
ISSN 1101-3303 2022:7