Conservation of an Early Iron Age Vessel with Tin Foil Decoration from Strettweg, Styria

Author: Paul Schubert
Mentors: Gabriela Krist, PhD, Associate Professor; Eva Lenhart MA, Assistant Professor; Anne Biber, MA, Assistant Professor; Gergana Almstädter, MA

Institute of Conservation and Restoration, University of Applied Arts, Vienna
Study programme: Conservation and Restoration
Specialization: Archaeological Objects (3rd year of study)

During the course of a 2012 excavation in Strettweg, Styria, pottery shards with tin foil decoration were discovered. The shards belonged to a ceramic vessel and can be dated to around 700 B.C - the early Iron Age or Hallstatt Era. The ornamental decor with tin foil is especially rare and can be found only on a handful of other objects. The aim of the conservation was to bring the object into a state in which it can be exhibited. At the Institute of Conservation, the shards were examined technologically, cleaned and the degraded tin foil were consolidated. The emphasis of the presentation is put on the on-going practical work of joining shards and gap-filling. Due to the size of the object as well as the problematically large gaps in the vessel, one focus of the practical work was the selection of an appropriate bonding method. This concerns not only the adhesive but also the technique of holding large shard-fragments in the optimal position. Filling of the large gaps will complete the conservation process. In future exhibitions, the vessel will represent the other tin foil ceramics from that particular excavation.

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Short biography

PAUL SCHUBERT was born in Vienna in 1995 and graduated from high-school in 2014. In October 2016, he started his studies of Conservation and Restoration at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, where he is scheduled to graduate in 2021. During the past three years, he worked on several projects, for example, on the consolidation of a baroque stucco ceiling in Lilienfeld, Lower Austria, as an assistant of an archaeological restorer at an excavation in Styria, and on a Conservation campaign which focused on the conservation of wooden objects in Innsbruck, Tyrol. In the current semester, he is doing an internship in the prehistoric department of the Natural History Museum in Vienna.