Painstaking work brings relics from dig site to Sharjah museum

The exhibition, From Site to Museum - The Journey of an Archaeological Artefact, at Sharjah Archaeology Museum shows how artefacts are cleaned and prepared for transport.

SHARJAH // The methodical work involved in unearthing relics from an archaeological site for public display will be showcased at Sharjah Archaeology Museum.

The exhibition displays photographs of archaeologists working at sites in the emirate, as well as detailed drawings and information on how the artefacts are cleaned and prepared for transport.

Another section reveals the meticulous laboratory processes used to record and measure the objects, be they jugs, glass beads or iron arrow heads.

Measuring tapes and scales, scalpels, microscopes, chemicals, and photographs of sensitive x-ray machines used to clean and restore the items are also displayed in glass shelves.

“It is so interesting to find one part and then you keep looking to find the other part, and finally it becomes one,” said Dr Sabah Jassim, the head of the archaeology excavation missions.

“You are anxious to find every part and when it all fits together, you feel like you have achieved something. Each item adds more importance to the site it was found.”

Chemicals such as benzotriazole are used in small amounts to clean metals and prevent corrosion. X-rays help detect decorations not visible to the naked eye and contamination hidden under the soil.

The museum staff used X-ray machines to investigate the gold discs on the horse bridle found at the Mleiha excavation site.

Carbon dating helps to ascertain the age of the relics and to categorise the era they are from.

The exhibition’s final section will become part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Published: May 7, 2014 04:00 AM