Clothes are in every time and at every society a fundamental instrument for the expression of a culture and status of human being. This and the fascinating diversity in manufacturing are the reasons why its worthwhile to look deeper into a textile fabric.
Especially in archaeology the conservator has to deal with all stages of decay and with varied amount of material. Investigation of the fibers and the workmanship of the textile is one of the first steps.
Here I show some examples for different stages of preservation of textiles from my last 10 years of work. Let´s start with the most challenging:
- In this archaeological textile fragment the fibers are completely decomposed through burning in a cremation burial. An common analysis with transmitted light was not productive. So I tried to find out the fiber material through Electron Scanning Microscope (SEM) which was more successful and as a result I could identify a bast fiber.
- During a conservation assessment you can find often on archaeological metal objects textile or fiber fragments in a further stage of decomposition and interspersed with corrosion products. An analysis with transmitted light is mostly still possible.
- The textile of this Japanese monk robe shows the early state of degradation. That means physical reactions result discolouring or brittleness. The fabric is still flexible so traditional textile cleaning and restoration treatments can be applied.
- Here you can see an ethnographic artifact with textile attached and covered with stain. The textile is in a good condition.
In object conservation and especially in conservation of archaeological heritage the conservators have to deal with a wide range of materials. In this examples you could see there is never only one material. Complex material combinations in artifacts make an indispensable use of interdisciplinary approach. BB conservation is familiar with techniques from traditional textile conservation to a wide range of object conservation.