The laboratory was established in the Institute of Archaeology in its original form during the 1970s. In 1999 it was relocated and new equipment was added such as a fume hood and ventilation system, x-ray equipment, airbrasive equipment, Zeiss binoculars, an ultrasonic humidifier and hot spatulas.
The goals of the laboratory are:
- Recommendations for safe excavation of fragile archaeological objects in the field.
- Recommendations for packing of archaeological objects according to material, field conditions and state of deterioration.
- Field conservation.
Conservation treatment in the laboratory:
- Condition report on arrival, photography, x- ray photography (if needed), preparation of material for further future analysis.
- Packing in safe neutral materials and stabilization of the object in optimal climatic conditions before, during and after treatment.
- Selection of conservation treatment to retrieve maximal information from the object while slowing its deterioration rate. All conservation processes should preserve as much as possible of the original material, shape, function, and signs of use.
- Our laboratory prefers the use of preventive conservation processes to the use of invasive processes, selecting optimal PH, light level, temperature, and display and storage materials that allow safe handling and minimal contact with the objects.
- Retrieval of hidden information by mechanical means rather than chemical treatments.
- Minimal use of modern resins and conservation treatments on archaeological materials, with an emphasis on reversibility.
The laboratory conserves a wide range of archaeological materials:
- Organic: wood, bone, ivory, leather, textiles, feathers, fibers.
- Inorganic: glass, ceramics, fresco, stucco, faience.
- Metals: gold, silver, copper, iron, alloys.
The laboratory serves the archaeological projects of the Institute of Archaeology, other universities and private institutions. Some special projects in which our laboratory has recently been involved are the conservation of the Tiberias bronze hoard and the Masada textiles.
In charge of the conservation laboratory is Mimi Lavi; B.A. in Archaeology and History of Art, SPC Certificate Course ICCROM Rome 1988, Conservation of Stone UNESCO Venice 1991, UCL Certificate in Conservation (with distinction), specialization in conservation of organic materials, British Museum, London 1996.