Specialized Laboratory Services and Artifact Conservation

Specilaized Laboratory Services

PAST personnel includes staffers with specialized skills in identification and organization of artifactual data. Our state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, full-time laboratory staff, and custom-designed inventory program ensure competent treatment and analysis of historic and prehistoric objects. Staffers specialize in historic period artifact identification, and in prehistoric artifact identification, including lithic usewear analysis. Our artifact analysis is so thorough and efficient and our inventory program so adaptive that we have been hired to reinventory and computerize collections of data from National Historic Landmarks.


British coin recoved from 18th-century Goodsell HouseArtifact conservation is a critical component of responsible archaeology. New England's acidic soils and temperature extremes are tough on many excavated artifacts. Non-calcined organic materials such as bone and wood are particularly fragile. Most excavated metal items are in precarious condition; and even those that seem in good shape when removed from the ground will deteriorate rapidly unless professionally treated. Artifacts assemblages collected by archaeologists today will be used by future generations for analysis. Indeed, with land development proceeding at an unprecedented pace, future opportunities for excavation will be limited and research of extant site assemblages will assume an even greater importance. Professional conservation ensures that important artifacts will remain stable for future research. Conserved artifacts also permit exhibition, a key part of the public information process.

PAST's conservation labPAST's professional conservator uses state-of-the-art methods to gently clean artifacts, remove harmful substances and to stop deterioration. All procedures are low-impact and reversible. We conserve artifacts from our own sites but also treat objects on a moderate-cost basis from historical societies, other cultural resource management consultants, and other sources.

A detailed view of other services we offer:

   Archaeological Reconnaissance Surveys

   Intensive Archaeological and Historical Studies

   Data Recovery and Excavation Projects


   Impact Assessment Mitigation Strategies

   National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmark Documentation

   State- and Federal-Level Historic Documentation

   Public Outreach Programs

   Educational Outreach and Curriculum Development

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