Class Schedule

The UCLA/Getty Master’s Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials will equip students with a range of skills and knowledge that will help them respond effectively to changing needs and conditions in the field of ethnographic and archaeological conservation. The courses will stress the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and decision-making, and prepare students to operate in a number of potential contexts.

YEAR 1

Fall

  • Science Fundamentals in the Conservation of Materials: CAEM 211 
    Introduction to important scientific parameters in conservation of materials that are of great importance for both fundamental science and practical applications. Students gain better understanding of intrinsic properties of materials, mechanisms of deterioration, and conservation treatments. General chemistry, physics, and physical chemistry (atomic structure bonding, etc.), fluid transfer in porous materials, diffusion, interfaces, surface tension, wetting, adsorption, adhesion, dissolution and crystallization, mechanical properties (properties/charactization), phase transformations (glass, metals, polymers).
  • Cultural Materials Science I: Analytical Imaging and Documentation in the Conservation of Materials: CAEM M215/MAT SCI M213
    Basic and advanced techniques on digital photography, computer-aided recording tools, and scientific imaging to determine and document condition (defects) and technological features of archaeological and ethnographic materials. Development of basic theoretical knowledge on imaging and photonics technology and practical skills on conservation photo-documentation, analytical (forensic) photography, and advanced new imaging technologies
  • Structure, Properties and Deterioration of Materials: Ceramics, Glass, Glazes: CAEM 260
    General introduction to different types of ancient ceramic and glass materials. Relationship between composition (chemistry), structure (crystals, molecular arrangement, and microstructure), and properties of ceramics, glass, glazes. Nature of frit and faience deterioration explained using basic concepts from physics and chemistry. Chemical, optical, and structural properties. Deterioration phenomena, defects, and products of alteration of ceramics and vitreous artifacts. Hands-on examination of variety of samples and artifacts.
  • Structure, Properties and Deterioration of Materials: Organics: CAEM 262-I
    General introduction to different types of organic materials used to produce cultural heritage: wood, bark, paper, bast fibers, grasses, skin and leather, hair and wool, quills and feathers, bone and ivory, plastics and composites. Relationship between composition (chemistry), processing, and properties of natural and manufactured materials using basic concepts from biology and chemistry. Structural stability and deterioration phenomena of these materials as found in cultural collections.

Winter: 

  • Science of Conservation of Materials and Methods I: CAEM M216/ MAT SCI M216
    Recommended requisite: Materials Science 104. Introduction to physical, chemical, and mechanical properties of conservation materials (employed for preservation of archaeological and cultural materials) and their aging characteristics. Science and application methods of traditional organic and inorganic systems and introduction of novel technology based on biomineralization processes and nanostructured materials.
  • Conservation Laboratory: Ceramics, Glass and Glazes: CAEM 230
    Enforced requisite: course 260. Recommended: course M215. Hands-on study in deterioration and conservation of ceramics and glass. Evaluation of use of conservation materials in joining, gap-filling, and restoration of ceramics and experience in their use provided.
  • Conservation Laboratory: Organics I: CAEM 232
    Enforced requisite: course 262. Designed for graduate conservation students. How to recognize characteristic deterioration problems found in organic materials from archaeological and ethnographic contexts and introduction to typical treatments used historically and currently for these materials. Materials focus on wood, bark and barkcloth, paper, and plastics and rubber.
  • Structure, Properties and Deterioration of Materials: Metals: CAEM 263
    General introduction to different types of ancient and ethnographic metals. Relationship between composition (chemistry), structure (crystals, molecular arrangement, and microstructure), and properties of metals explained using basic concepts from physics and chemistry. Chemical, optical, and structural properties. Deterioration phenomena, defects, and products of alteration of metallic artifacts. Hands-on examination of variety of samples and artifacts.

Spring:

  • Cultural Materials Science II: Characterization methods in the Conservation of Materials: CAEM M210/MAT SCI M211/212
    Preparation: general chemistry, inorganic and organic chemistry, materials science. Principles and methods of materials characterization in conservation: optical and electron microscopy, X-ray and electron spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, infrared spectroscopy, reflectance spectroscopy and multispectral imaging spectroscopy, chromatography, design of archaeological and ethnographic materials characterization procedures.
  • Conservation Laboratory: Metals I: CAEM 234
    Recommended: course M215. Recommended corequisite: course M210. Designed for graduate conservation students. Hands-on work to study deterioration and conservation of metallic artifacts and composite objects containing metals (copper and copper alloys, and silver). Corrosion of ancient metals and their deterioration processes, conservation, problems in stability, issues with composite objects, their deterioration and stabilization, cleaning, joining, and gap-filling.
  • Environmental Protection for Museums, Libraries, and Archives: CAEM M240/INF STD M238
    Requisite: Information Studies 432. Required of graduate conservation students. Review of environmental and biological agents of deterioration, including light, temperature, relative humidity, pollution, insects, and fungi. Emphasis on monitoring to identify agents and understanding of materials sensitivities, along with protective measures for collections.
  • Structure, Properties and Deterioration of Materials: Rock Art, Wall Paintings, Mosaics: CAEM M264/Mat SCI M214
    Recommended preparation: basic knowledge of general chemistry and materials science. Introduction to materials and techniques of rock art, wall paintings (including painted surfaces on cement and composite decorative architectural surfaces), and mosaics. Archaeological and ethnographic context, techniques, and materials. Pigments, colorants, and binding media. Chemical, optical, and structural properties. Relationship between composition (chemistry), structure (crystals, molecular arrangement, and microstructure), and properties explained using basic concepts from physics and chemistry. Intrinsic attributes and resistance to weathering. Causes, sources, and mechanisms of deterioration (physical, chemical, and biochemical).
  • Structure, Properties and Deterioration of Materials: Stone and Adobe: CAEM 261
    Introduction to igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks (geological context, mineralogical composition, macrostructure, and microstructure). Clay minerals: composition, structure, and properties. Rocks and stone: geographical distribution and occurrence, and usage by ancient cultures. Adobe: clay-based manmade materials. Mechanical and petrophysical properties of stone and adobe. Relationships between composition/structure and properties. Intrinsic and structural stability, resistance to weathering. Deterioration mechanisms and factors (physical, chemical, and biochemical).

YEAR 2

Fall: 

  • Conservation Laboratory: Stone and Adobe: CAEM 231
    Enforced requisite: course 261. Research-based laboratory on conservation of stone and adobe. Conservation issues on cleaning, consolidation, protection, and structural instability. Characterization, diagnostic assessment, and development of conservation treatment proposals. Testing of materials.
  • Conservation Laboratory: Organics II: CAEM 238
    Enforced requisite: course 262. Designed for graduate conservation students. Typical treatments used historically and currently for deterioration problems found in organic materials from archaeological and ethnographic contexts. Materials include plant and animal fibers, feathers, and quills.
  • Conservation Laboratory: Rock art, Wall Paintings and Mosaics: CAEM M250/MAT SCI M215/ART HIS M203F
    Enforced requisites: courses M210 (or Materials Science M216 or C112), 210L, 264. Recommended: course M215. Research-based laboratory on conservation of rock art, wall paintings (archaeological and modern composites on cements), mosaics, and decorated architectural surfaces. Experimental techniques and analysis of materials (using materials science and reverse engineering processes) for characterization of technology, constituent materials, and alteration products; development of conservation treatment proposals, testing of conservation products, and methods and conservation treatment.
  • Structure, Properties and Deterioration of Materials: Organics: CAEM 262-II
    General introduction to different types of organic materials used to produce cultural heritage: wood, bark, paper, bast fibers, grasses, skin and leather, hair and wool, quills and feathers, bone and ivory, plastics and composites. Relationship between composition (chemistry), processing, and properties of natural and manufactured materials using basic concepts from biology and chemistry. Structural stability and deterioration phenomena of these materials as found in cultural collections.

Winter: 

  • Conservation and Ethnography: CAEM 222
    Designed for graduate conservation students. Introduction to work as conservators with indigenous repositories housing cultural collections. Students learn different models for tribal museums and cultural centers, and importance of material selection and properties in baskets they are treating.
  • Conservation Laboratory: Metals II: CAEM 239
    Enforced requisites: courses 234, 263. Recommended: courses M210, M215. Treatment of conservation problems of metallic artifacts made of iron, steel, cast iron, gold, zinc, and aluminum that have some importance in ethnographic objects. Practical work on metallic artifacts.
  • Cultural Materials Science Laboratory (Technical Study): CAEM 210L/MAT SCI M213L
    Enforced requisites: course M215 (or M216) and one course from 260 through 264. Enforced corequisite: course M210 (or Materials Science CM212 or C112). Research-based laboratory through object-based problem- solving approach in conservation materials science. Experimental techniques, characterization, and analysis of archaeological and ethnographic materials (using materials science principles and reverse engineering processes) to determine technological features, defects, and products of alteration. Hands-on experience with noninvasive imaging and spectroscopic techniques.
  • Collections Management for Museums, Libraries and Archives: CAEM 242
    How conservators work together with curators, collections managers, mount makers, designers, and registrars to permit collections to be both accessed and preserved. 

Spring: 

  • Field Methods in Archaeological Conservation: Readiness, Response, and Recovery: CAEM C120/C220
    Overview of risks (direct and indirect) and materials vulnerability of in situ cultural heritage and movable archaeological materials in emergency situations (rescue excavations, disasters, conflicts), with emphasis on readiness, first aid response, and recovery. Readiness focuses on preparedness and preventive measures, including reburials, shelters, rescue excavations, and documentation as well as developing inventories and awareness campaigns. First aid response covers development of on-site emergency risk assessments to evaluate damage and putting triage theory into practice, salvage rescue operations, emergency temporary in situ stabilization and protection (using locally available materials), and training. Recovery is based on documentation, lifting methods, handling, transportation, and storage. Emphasis on finding practical solutions to prevent and mitigate damage and to recover and safeguard archaeological artifacts.
  • MA Thesis Preparation: CAEM 598
    Development of research paper on conservation topic or treatment-based investigation that can be theoretical in scope or practically oriented.
  • Principles, Practice and Ethics in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Materials: CAEM 221/ART HIS C172A/C272A
    Introduction to preservation of cultural heritage materials, including what should be preserved and why, as well as who should be involved in decision-making process. Use of several examples of issues and problems involved in preservation of works of art, from L.A. Murals to Sistine Chapel, from ancient wall paintings to Statue of Liberty. Discussion of issues of preservation and restoration of these cultural heritage materials both in museum and outdoor environment contexts. Materials and techniques used to make cultural heritage materials, in relation to preservation efforts needed to prevent decay and loss. Introduction to examples of conservation issues related to sites, buildings, monuments, and collections. Ethical and contextual aspects with reference to changing values in conservation of cultural materials, illustrating how cultural materials may have been treated differently according to those values

 

In addition, students will undertake a summer internship between their first and second years, and an internship during the third year of the program.

*For the elective, students can take either a course offered at UCLA or register for Directed Individual Studies (CAEM 596) with one of the faculty members to undertake a research project or conservation treatment for the term.

 

OTHER COURSES TAUGHT BY OUR FACULTY INCLUDE:

 

CAEM 224 – Issues in Preservation and Management of Archaeological and Cultural Sites– Ioanna Kakoulli

Designed to offer a practical model of preservation and management planning for heritage sites that reflects real case-study scenarios. Adaptive management planning following iterative processes for sustainable heritage preservation addressing threats and challenges such as climate change and global warming, conflicts, and neglect. Consideration of significance and value of heritage sites and role of stakeholders. Investigation of methods of evaluation of physical condition and development of risk assessments to address physical risks in milieu of site preservation management, including visitors’ organization, urban development, socioeconomic growth, and tourist development.

INF STD 432 – Issues and Problems in the Preservation of Heritage Materials - Ellen Pearlstein

This course is designed to familiarize students with various media found in special collections and considered nontraditional for libraries, including ceramics, metals and glass. Students explore how materials deteriorate and how environment and storage conditions influence rates of deterioration, and the important links between documentation and preservation. The specific demands placed on collections are evaluated through a case study, where risks involve handling and security as well as disasters, pests and uncontrolled climate. Preservation planning methods such as collections assessments and surveys are reviewed. Students also gain experience with archival materials and storage concepts and how they contribute to collections preservation, and learn how the collections caretaker can responsibly manage preservation functions and develop a preservation plan. The components of a preservation program are described along with how they can be incorporated into an organization's policies.