Block-lifting Archaeological Artifacts

Includes a Live In-Person Event on 03/01/2023 at 9:00 AM (MST)

March 1 - 3, 2023
Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Instructors: Dr. Nancy Odegaard, Gina Watkinson

This workshop will provide an opportunity for conservation professionals to gain skills in archaeological block-lifting through hands-on activities, lectures, and discussion. The workshop will provide participants with experience in the techniques and tools for characterizing artifact materials and burial conditions, methods for documentation, stabilization, removal and packing of delicate finds in the field, and controlled micro-excavation of block-lifts in the lab.

 The workshop will begin with an introduction to tools and techniques at the museum and move to an archaeological site to perform block-lifting techniques.

 Workshop participants will:

  • learn about the different tools and techniques for preparing and block-lifting archaeological artifacts.
  • learn about the different tools and techniques for micro-excavation in a laboratory setting and characterizing conditions and materials.
  • gain hands-on experience with archaeological conservation techniques for stabilizing, excavating, and packing fragile artifacts on-site.

FAIC and the Arizona State Museum are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation. View our Help page for our cancellation policy.


Funding for this program comes from the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC) Endowment for Professional Development and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The FAIC Endowment for Professional Development, which was created by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is supported by donations from members of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and its friends. Workshops are made possible with the assistance of many AIC members, but no AIC membership dues were used to create or present this course.

FAIC relies on your contributions to support these and its many other programs. Learn more about donating to the foundation.

Nancy Odegaard, PhD

Conservator Professor Emerita

Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona

Nancy Odegaard served as Conservator, Head of Preservation Division at the Arizona State Museum and Professor of Anthropology, Materials Science & Engineering, Historic Preservation, and American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona from 1983 to 2021. She previously worked at the Smithsonian Institution, Peabody Museum – Harvard University, and with many museums throughout the country and internationally on special projects, conservation assessments, workshops. She has received resident scholar awards from the Fulbright Commission, Getty Conservation Institute, Winterthur Museum, ICCROM- Rome, Canadian Conservation Institute, and University of London as well as receiving an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden in 2016. Among her many publications are books including The Care and Handling of Anthropological Collections (WAAC 1991), Materials Characterization Tests for Objects of Art and Archaeology (Archetype 2000, 2005, Kress Award), Old Poisons – New Problems A Museum Resource (Altamira 2005), Curating Human Remains: A Guide for Museums and Academic Institutions (Altamira 2006, Kress Award), and A Visual Dictionary of Artistic and Domestic Arts (Rowman & Littlefield 2022- American Alliance of Museums Award). She is currently Conservator Professor Emerita at the University of Arizona and continues to research, write, and conduct collaborative projects with museums and communities.

Gina Watkinson

Conservation Laboratory Manager

Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona

Gina M. Watkinson is the Conservation Laboratory Manager at the Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona where she has worked since 2007. She received a BA from the University of Delaware Art Conservation Department in 2007, a MA in American Indian Studies with a graduate certificate in Heritage Conservation from the University of Arizona in 2013, and is currently in the doctoral program in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. Gina is a professional associate of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and the chair of the AIC Archaeological Heritage Network (AHN).

Scholarships are available to support participation in this program. Scholarship applications are due on February 15, 2023. Due to the timing of this workshop, scholarship award notifications will not be given prior to the workshop taking place. Awardees who participate in the workshop can use the scholarship funds as a reimbursement for expenses.

FAIC/NEH Individual Professional Development Scholarships support participants offer up to $1,500 to help defray costs associated with participation in this workshop for residents of the United States.

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Workshop at Arizona State Museum
03/01/2023 at 9:00 AM (MST)   |  2 days, 7 hours, 30 minutes
03/01/2023 at 9:00 AM (MST)   |  2 days, 7 hours, 30 minutes