Conservation starts in the archives. If you don't know where the artifacts came from they lose a lot of their meaning.
With this in mind, we've started delving through the archeologist's field books, notes, and site records to match the documents to the collections we are curating.
We also found a series of negatives documenting the work on Travertine Point in the 1960's. Photographs, slides, and negatives are most susceptible to the hot desert climate and are a top priority of our curation efforts. We found some of the images had been boiled right off the film. These several images of Travertine Point are lost, but we are left with a stark reminder of why professional conservation is important. Bringing the images into the protective museum building will stabilize the chemical interactions that cause photos to fade or, like these were, be entirely erased.
All is not lost, however, since the records exist to tell us what was on the film, we at least know what we should be seeing. There is a sense of loss that the images are gone, but the paper records remain to tell us the story of Travertine Point, what was there, and why it was important.