Chapter 3 // Restoring the vessel of soil
In the last chapter, of the work, as a conservator usually called to restore vessels, I focused on the concept of the vessel and chose to restore and preserve the largest of them all: the earth, the soil that contains them all.
I collected masses (aggregates) of soil, found in the excavated layer, and applied the restoration methods that I would normally apply to an artifact.
Through repetitive procedures of stabilization and mechanical cleaning, the contents of the “vessel” slowly revealed themselves. Fragments of various size and materials appeared on the surface together with stones, shells, roots, leaves and other less expected findings.
Soil is not stable. The processes taking place underground make the soil a “moving” and ever-changing substance and the “restoration” process froze time in a way and managed to create a transition in materiality as the soil itself became a stable object that gained longevity and monumentality. It became a vessel not only for physical objects but also for information on material culture as regarded in archaeology, our activities and manipulation of earth as well as the living landscape itself. A vessel interconnecting different temporalities both cultural and natural.
If an excavation allows travel through temporalities this is a kind of souvenir from the critical zone.
Moreover, from the archaeologists point of view, it gave the public a close glimpse to the archaeological layers and how they appear to the specialist into the excavation trench, offering in a way, full accessibility to a not allowed area of the site visit.