Between May and September 2011, we have conducted two months of intensive research on the contents of two Paracas Necropolis mortuary bundles housed in the Museo Regional de Ica. As part of this research, we improved the electric installation and installed new table surfaces in the laboratory spaces at the Museum and carried out preventative conservation measures and rehousing of the textiles associated with burials 136 and 352. We worked with a wonderful group of students and recent graduates of the Universidad Nacional San Luis Gonzaga, with the assistance and supervision of Museum staff. Project staff in charge of textile analysis included director Ann Peters, professional archaeologists Carmen Carranza and Anita Murga and archaeological conservator Andrés Shiguekawa.
Diagnostic process for analysis and conservation: UNICA graduate Cristian Mancilla and project conservator Carmen Carranza use a digital microscope to view adhesives used in 1951 to attach textile fragments to a paper backing.
Diagnostic process for analysis and conservation: UNICA archaeology graduate Cinthya Santi, MRI collections assistant Carol Padula and project director Ann Peters examine a fragmentary headcloth (WK 352 item 87) for evidence of stress produced by mounting on paper and storage folded inside a box since 1951, as well as data on artifact dimensions and spatial organization preserved thanks to this mounting.
Carol, Ricardo and Cinthya place a layer of tule (chemically stable polyester, through which the textile can be viewed) over the headcloth, which next was carefully turned over. The paper backing was removed, stitch by stitch, and replaced by a backing of cotton cloth, previously washed without detergents.
Then the three textile layers were carefully turned over, and the creases removed by gentle pressing with glass panels. The tule was sewn in place at each margin to encapsulate the fragmentary textile and protect it, preserving the data on its dimensions, diagnostic features and deterioration in the archaeological context. The headcloth is now protected but visible, and the tule can be removed from a section in the future if required for research purposes.