The Kelsey Conservation Lab is pleased to welcome Madeleine Neiman as our new Samuel H. Kress Fellow for the 2014–2015 academic year.
Madeleine is a recent graduate of the UCLA/Getty Program on the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials, and has an undergraduate degree in anthropology from Bryn Mawr College. She just completed a year-long graduate practicum internship at the Arizona State Museum (University of Arizona) and has also previously worked at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Alaska State Museum, and the Anchorage Museum, where she focused on the conservation and technical analysis of ethnographic and archaeological materials.
At the Kelsey, Madeleine’s research will center on conservation projects for the Seleucia collection. For example, she will research and treat an incantation or “demon” bowl from Seleucia, an unglazed ceramic bowl painted with magical spells designed to entrap demons. The inscriptions on this bowl are obscured by a darkened surface layer (possibly a modern coating) and by the presence of chunky salts, probably deposited while the bowl was buried. Important goals of conservation treatment will be to stabilize the bowl’s inscription and make it more legible.
In addition to the bowl, Madeleine will survey and study a group of bone figurines from Seleucia. The figurines are carved in both stylized and naturalistic human forms, and some are painted. Madeleine will collaborate with zooarchaeologist Dr. Richard Redding, as well as materials scientists at U-M and elsewhere, to answer a variety of research questions about the figurines.
We are thrilled to have Madeleine here to research and treat these unique artifacts, and we’re grateful to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation for supporting her fellowship. Welcome, Madeleine!