British Museum Technical
Research Bulletin
Volume 6

All articles are anonymously peer-reviewed by specialists outside the British Museum

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Volume six of the British Museum Technical Research Bulletin comprises nine articles that encompass the examination of material from an extremely broad range of cultures and periods, from ancient Greece, Egypt and Afghanistan to Siberian and Native American objects, by way of voyages of trade and discovery in the latter half of the last millennium and the Isle of Wight.

The articles frequently highlight the reasons that lie behind technical examination and analysis, and the role that these can play in fulfilling the wider aims of the Museum to present and preserve the collection. The studies presented here often accomplish both these aims; revealing the significance of an object through its materials and techniques, while providing a basis for decisions about its future care and treatment.

Two articles in this volume illustrate the value of the unique collections of the reference materials available at the British Museum, in these cases to identify the fibre types in Native American clothing and to shed light on the archaeobotanical evidence of food, fuel and raw materials used in the ancient Egyptian settlement at Amara West. In addition, the opportunity was taken to study another reference collection (metal ingots from shipwrecks) to provide compositional data against which to make future comparisons when examining less well-provenanced or firmly-dated artefacts.

Three articles demonstrate the importance of international, national or local collaboration and partnership: with the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul to examine and treat a series of ivories from Begram; with the Castle Museum in Norwich to unfold, conserve and examine an Egyptian shroud; and with Kew Gardens restore a statue of Hermes for display in an exhibition to coincide with the London Olympics.

Shamanic apron from Siberia, nineteenth century


 Hidden history?: examination of two patches on John White’s map of ‘Virginia’Janet Ambers, Joanna Russell, David Saunders and Kim Sloan

 Identification of hairs and fibres in Great Lakes objects from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries using variable pressure scanning electron microscopyCaroline Cartwright and Jonathan C.H. King

 An economic history of the post-Medieval world in 50 ingots: the British Museum collection of ingots from dated wrecksPaul Craddock and Duncan Hook

 Investigating and interpreting an early-to-mid sixth-century Frankish style helmetJamie Hood, Barry Ager, Craig Williams, Susan Harrington and Caroline Cartwright

 The fall and rise of a Roman statue: the Kew Gardens Hermes Kathryn Oliver, Peter Higgs and Michela Spataro

 Hidden, looted, saved: the scientific research and conservation of a group of Begram Ivories from the National Museum of AfghanistanEmma Passmore, Janet Ambers, Catherine Higgitt, Clare Ward, Barbara Wills, St John Simpson and Caroline Cartwright

 The Norwich shroud: conservation and investigation of a rare Eighteenth Dynasty shroud Monique Pullan, Janet Ambers, Caroline Cartwright, John H. Taylor and Faye Kalloniatis

 Archaeobotanical research in a pharaonic town in ancient NubiaPhilippa Ryan, Caroline Cartwright and Neal Spencer

 A radioactive shamanic apron with glass disease Rachel Swift, Andrew S. Meek, Nicole Rode and Anouska Komlosy