The Fiske Center Conservation Laboratory performs preservative treatments on archaeological finds and conducts micro-archaeological research on the artifacts and soil contexts of the Center's archaeological projects.

The lab is dedicated to the study of archaeological site formation processes as a way of reconstructing past environments and of confirming our interpretations of past human behavior. Laboratory micro-excavation of intact soil blocks, and micromorphological study of archaeological soil matrices are conducted to complement and support the collaborative research of the Fiske Center scholars, the students of UMass Boston Anthropology Department as well as contracted institutions.

The micromorphological studies include the microscopic examination of prepared thin sections of soil matrices to understand the character and sequencing of micro-archaeological strata. These micro-strata are further analyzed for elemental composition using our portable X-ray fluorescence analyzers (PXRF). PXRF is also used in studying artifacts to better understand their original composition and any alterations, to detect surface residues of past use and to prepare for and document the progress of conservation treatments. Specific applications of this technology include the identification of alloy compositions in historic metals, glaze composition of ceramics, and the detection of use-related residues on stone, wood and many other materials.

These services are available to UMass Boston students and faculty researchers as well as to area cultural institutions engaged in archaeological or preservation-related projects with the Fiske Center.

Archaeological Conservation Laboratory
Location: M-2-330
Laboratory Manager: Dennis Piechota
Phone: 617.287.6829
Office; M-2-332