Clare Ward

Conservator of Organic Artefacts

Department: Conservation and Scientific Research


+44 (0)20 7323 8252


Clare Ward is Wood Studio Manager and responsible for the supervision of staff and interns.

She is conservator of all types of organic material and specialises in archaeological organics and modern plastics, acting as a source of advice on the conservation and care of these artefacts throughout the Museum. This involves examining objects for exhibition, loans, publication and storage, advising on conservation and also storage and display conditions, as well as carrying out practical conservation work and research into new treatments.

Clare trained in Archaeological Conservation and Material Science at the Institute of Archaeology, University of London, graduating in 1981. After completing several short term contracts in Britain and Denmark she joined the British Museum in 1982.

Current projects

Leader of team assessing and conserving organic objects for new Early Medieval Gallery due to open 2008

Examination and conservation assessment of the Lewis Chessmen in a collaborative project with the Museum Research Lab

Advise the Natural History Museum in Zagreb, Croatia on the conservation requirements for Neanderthal bones from Krapina

Investigation into the use of lasers for the conservation of organic artefacts

Conservation of organic material from the Ringlemere excavation (including the conservation of a wooden stave bucket with bronze bands) - collaborative project, working together with other conservators and scientists in Research Lab

Research into conservation treatment of deteriorated polyurethane roses on a Bulgarian Headdress in collaboration with Conservation research

Research into conservation and long term storage of a collection of plastic shadow puppets in collaboration with Conservation research

Previous projects

Conservation liaison for exhibition and loan of La Bouche de Roi, contemporary art installation by Romuald Hazoumé

Conservation assessments of Human Remains within the British Museum such as Lindow Man and the Wendorf Collection

Surveys and conservation of Plastics and Rubber Objects in the British Museum Collection, e.g. PVC rickshaw paintings, plastic fruit

Conservation of waterlogged wood from British excavations including a group of rare waterlogged neolithic bark bowls

Research into adhesives and consolidants for the conservation of amber

Survey and conservation of a wide range of wood, bone, antler and ivory artefacts from a variety of cultures for example, ivories from Nimrud, wood from Jericho and Palaeolithic Art material from Montastruc, including investigative conservation of antler mammoth spear thrower

Conservator on various British Museum excavations, e.g. Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, Runnymede Bridge, Surrey, Springfield, Essex and Etton, Cambridgeshire

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Accredited member of the Institue of Conservation (ICON)

Member of the ICON Archaeology Section

Member of Modern Materials and Contemporary Art Group of the International Committee of Museums - Committee for Conservation (ICOM-CC)

Member of the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA)

Recent publications

C.Ward, ‘Out of the Archaeological Twilight Zone: Conservation of objects from the Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Buckland, Dover’ with S. Watkins, F. Shearman, D. Ling and C. Haithe, British Museum Society Newsletter, (2001) pp.28-32

C. Ward, ‘Interventive Conservation Treatments for Plastic and Rubber Artefacts in The British Museum,’ with Y. Shashoua, ICOM– CC Preprints of the 12th Triennial Meeting, Lyon, (London: James and James, 1999) , pp.888-893

C. Ward, ‘The Conservation of a Group of Waterlogged Neolithic Bowls,’ with D. Giles, D. Sully, and D.J. Lee, Studies in Conservation 41, (1996), pp.241-249

C.Ward, ‘The Conservation of Amber’, with D. Thickett and P. Cruickshank, Studies in Conservation 40, (1995), pp.217-226

C.Ward, ‘Plastics: Modern Resins with Aging Problems’ with Y. Shashoua, Resins:ancient and modern:pre-prints of the SSCR’s 2nd resins conference held in Aberdeen, 13-14 September 1995, ed. M. Wright and J. Townsend (Edinburgh: Scottish Society for Conservation and Restoration, 1995) pp.33-37