Catherine Sease— 2008 Conservation and Heritage Management Award

Award Citation:

The Archaeological Institute of America is pleased to present its award for excellence in conservation and heritage management to Catherine Sease, in recognition of her long-standing commitment to archaeological artifact conservation.

Catherine Sease has had a distinguished career as a conservator of archaeological materials, both in museums and in the field at sites throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. She received a B.Sc. in conservation from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, where she taught in the Department of Conservation. Her expertise in conservation techniques led to positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, where she was head of the conservation division. Sease has also been a guest instructor for international conservation courses offered by the International Organization for Conservation of Cultural Heritage. Her many publications include the most widely known handbook for field conservation, A Conservation Manual for the Field Archaeologist (Los Angeles 1987). She is currently the senior conservator at the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University.

In 1994, Catherine Sease was awarded a fellowship in conservation by the American Academy in Rome, and in 1995 served as the first chair of the newly formed Conservation and Heritage Management Committee of the AIA. She has made a significant contribution to the field of conservation by championing the need for conservation planning as a critical part of archaeological excavations. She participated in the 1998 international conference, “Art, Antiquity, and the Law: Preserving our Global Cultural Heritage,” sponsored by Rutgers University, which put forth the Rutgers Resolutions concerning the ethical and legal acquisition of ancient art and artifacts.

In addition to private practice, Sease has been a consultant for many years, recently for the U.S. State Department. She was one of a group of four specialists asked to travel to Baghdad in October 2003 to assess the condition of the Iraq National Museum following the looting crisis. This quote from her sums up her dedication to the field of archaeological conservation: “Since collections and artifacts can’t speak for themselves, I try to speak for them. I ensure that they are properly cared for so that they are available for teaching and research, as well as for the enjoyment of the general public.”

On behalf of the Archaeological Institute of America, it is an honor to present the 2008 Conservation and Heritage Management Award to Catherine Sease.

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