The latest science behind restoring and preserving art. From BBC News:
Porcupine quills and cactus spines are among the tools used to prepare a £1m hoard of Viking treasure that went on public show in York on 17 September.
We will never know if the Vikings who buried a princely hoard of silver in a gilded cup near Harrogate in the 10th century expected to see it again.
They surely did not anticipate that the treasure would emerge from the earth after 1,100 years, to be set upon by highly-skilled conservators wielding items such as quills and ultrasound vibrators.
But that is what has happened.
After a “quick turn-round” in the conservation department of the British Museum (BM) the hoard – or some of it; only some 100 of 617 coins have yet been cleaned – is ready to go on show at the Yorkshire Museum.
Much more work remains to be done, say the conservators – but already they are enthusiastic about the quality of the find.
“We had a very tight turn-round time and very few people to deliver it. We were trying to get this to look as good as possible in the least time possible… We only had two or three weeks,” says Fleur Shearman, a metals conservator at the BM.
But, she adds: “apart from soil encrustations and the corrosion related to the lead and a little bit related to the copper in the cup, it’s in superb, really outstanding condition.”