Archaeological material from other institutions that is being conserved and restored at the Archaeological museum in Zagreb was not damaged in the earthquake
Archaeological material from museum and scientific institutions from all over Croatia, and was submitted for conservation and restoration to the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, was not damaged in the earthquake. The specialized conservation-restoration laboratories of the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb currently hold artifacts made out of different materials from about twenty Croatian institutions, and can be dated to different periods – from prehistory to the Modern Age.
The Archaeological Museum in Zagreb has an exceptionally long tradition of conserving and restoring archaeological heritage that has been alive practically since it was established, and is still alive today. Although conservation-restoration activities are primarily connected to the protection and restoration of the original shine on pieces of archaeological heritage, due to the developments in processing methods and different diagnostic methods, the museum laboratories are increasingly becoming places where different analytical and archaeometric analyses are being carried out.
Today, the Conservation-restoration Department of the Museum, with its specialized laboratories, is an unavoidable link in protecting, studying and interpreting archaeological heritage. Namely, the archaeological artifacts, discovered in field excavations, have to, as a rule, go through appropriate conservation-restoration processing so that they could be protected from further decay. Furthermore, by restoring them back to their original form, allows for further scientific determination and presentation to the public.
Considering the specific nature of archaeological material, the process of conservation and restoration is, in a way, a continuation of archaeological field excavations in controlled conditions in the laboratory. This especially refers to the so-called in situ blocks that get transported to the museum laboratory because they contain extremely fragile and fragmented finds or groups of finds, along with the surrounding soil. These blocks then get carefully processed with the help of specialized tools and equipment.
In order to collect as much information about the artifacts as possible, the process of conservation and restoration usually include different diagnostic methods such as macroscopic and microscopic inspection, radiography and exploratory cleaning, and, in some cases, also more complex multidisciplinary archaeological research that aims to determine the original archaeological materials and some technological processes. Some of the said research is conducted in laboratories within the Department, especially the Museum’s specialized SEM-EDS laboratory, while more complex research, such as determining the origin of the raw material, the analysis of organic material, metallography and the like, gets conducted in cooperation with numerous specialized institutions in the country and abroad.