Helping to conserve the Agora in Athens
22 October 2012
The Stoa of Attalos, a reconstructed building at the Agora site, Athens, which houses a museum, offices, and the conservation lab where I worked (the Acropolis site is in the background)
Francis Lukezic - one of our current Masters conservators - reports on a hot summer helping conserve one of the gems of the ancient world:
'Over the summer, I was fortunate to spend eight incredible weeks in Athens, Greece, undertaking an internship in archaeological conservation at the Agora Excavations. My internship in the conservation laboratory at the Agora, with The American School of Classical Studies at Athens, coincided with the eight week excavation season ... taking place at the site from 11 June to 3 August, 2012. I was quite eager to gain experience conserving freshly excavated artifacts at an active archaeological excavation. And, the Agora Excavations provided the perfect venue. I was able to put conservation theory and skills, learned during the first year of my degree, into practice and gained invaluable practical work experience at the same time.
Additionally, I encountered the challenges of working in an environment with limited resources and extreme summer heat, but discovered ways to adapt and still carry out conservation work to a professional standard. I worked on a variety of interesting artifacts, such as bronze coins and tools, objects made from stone and glass, painted plaster, ceramics, and terracotta architectural tiles with traces of painted designs. Working on the painted architectural tiles was a highlight, as the archaeologists felt they were likely associated with a famous building known as the Stoa Poikile, or painted Stoa.
Francis Lukezic working on one of the painted architectural tiles from the Agora Excavations Athens
The ancient Agora is one of the most important classical archaeological sites in the world and it was a great privilege to conserve finds from such a prestigious site. Despite the hot summer weather of Athens, I had a fantastic, rewarding experience and the internship enriched my professional development as a conservator tremendously. If I ever have the opportunity to return to the Agora Excavations, I would absolutely do it ag