Ray Hernández Durán
Following the Spanish Conquest, responses to Aztec art were varied. While architecture and many sacred sculptures were demolished and their material remains recycled into new construction, other works were either repurposed to fulfill new functions in the colonial setting or sent to Europe where they were collected and admired. Certain Aztec art forms persisted after the Conquest but with various adaptations or reformulations, as seen in manuscript production and featherwork. Other Colonial artworks, for example sculpture and wall paintings, evince the influence of indigenous esthetics, techniques, and forms, evident in sculpture and wall painting. Eventually, Aztec objects transitioned from being perceived as exotic curiosities in royal collections and world’s fairs to historical and archaeological artifacts to works of art appreciated by audiences in Mexico, as signifiers of national identity and indigenous achievement, and in museum exhibitions abroad where Aztec art often continues to be enigmatic, misunderstood, or unknown.
From the Archaeology of Childhood to Modern Children Visiting Archaeological Museums: An Italian Perspective
This chapter addresses three interconnected topics, beginning with a short overview of the archaeology of children and childhood in Italy, explaining how and why the Italian contribution to the topic has been very recent. The chapter then moves on to explore the relationship between modern children, Italian scholars of ancient history of art and archaeology, and museums; it notes that for a very long time Italian universities and museums have not been interested in developing didactic archaeology at all, especially when the spectators were children, whether of pre-school or older age. Finally, returning to children in the past, two noteworthy case studies of the presentation of ancient children at exhibitions are illustrated as an interesting point of convergence between current archaeological studies in Italy on childhood in the ancient world, and the newly generated need to communicate to the general public the result of research works.
Gazing on the Past (and Being Photobombed by Children): Archaeology, the Early Years of Modern Photography, and the Visible/Invisible Child
Sally Crawford and Katharina Ulmschneider
Archaeologists often ignore the presence of children as a contributing factor in the archaeological record. However, recent analysis of a number of glass plate and film photographs taken by archaeologists at the end of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century shows that children were often incorporated into the photograph, either deliberately or inadvertently. These images provide not just a record of ancient sites and monuments, but also of the many local children who appear in the photographs. The children recorded by archaeologists offer an insight into children, their childhoods, their freedoms, and their place in society across a range of cultures in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, as well as raising questions about how archaeologists ‘saw’ the human subject in photographs where monuments and sites were the object.
This chapter addresses issues related to light–object interaction along with its resulting phenomena, taking into consideration materiality issues. It presents light and its role in artefacts studies, either as a tool for finds analysis or as a corrosion agent. It attempts a balanced investigation into past and contemporary approaches towards light from the conservator’s perspective. It discusses traditional raking and oblique light examination, along with its advanced digital analogue, Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), which bridges the gap between digital photography and three-dimensional modelling. Applications of dome and/or Highlight RTI in a wide variety of material and artefact types, as well as in a wide range of conservation states, using macroscopic and microscopic means, indicate that the technique contributes considerably in prevention, investigation, examination and analysis, documentation, communication, dissemination, and presentation, as well as being a conservation monitoring tool.
Museums exist to display and preserve valuable artefacts. Display lighting helps fulfil one of the main tenets of a museum, but excessive light causes irreparable damage to sensitive exhibits. Getting the balance between good display lighting and good conservation conditions is often difficult, but not impossible. Good exhibit lighting is not accidental. A considered process of design ideation and refinement is required to render exhibits to best effect. This thoughtful process is not explicit in the installation; nevertheless, by analysing methodologies that an experienced designer may consider as ‘intuitive’, the author establishes the critical design practices that underpin effective lighting for museum exhibits. The author explores factors that may impair viewing conditions and how the human physiological response to light can work against us in dimly lit galleries. However, considered use of light can reveal details of texture, shape, and decoration that could easily be missed in low light conditions.
Mark A. Hall
This contribution explores the biographical life stage of childhood in medieval Europe through the contemporary (now) representations of such childhood, particularly in the cinema and the museum. Aspects to be explored include defining childhood, nested identities, gender and social contexts, narrative inclinations and independence of action (e.g. through play, education and apprenticeship, and training for adulthood). A range of films will be considered for their powerful and vital depictions of a constructed and variously authentic notion of medieval childhood, in particular Andrei Roublev, The Seventh Seal, Anchoress, Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey, Marketa Lazarová, and Brave. The various strands of exploration will be drawn together in an assessment of the images being put forward to represent children both in archaeology and museums (including temporary exhibitions and permanent museums of childhood) and in cinema.
María de Lourdes Gallardo Parrodi
This chapter outlines the development and contributions of archaeological conservation done at the Templo Mayor Project since 1978. The advancements made in this field have been possible thanks to the work of various conservators who contribute their expertise from the moment of excavation to the posterior treatment and research on archaeological findings. They contribute a thorough understanding of the characteristics of different materials, their transformation and processes of alteration, and the different uses they will have within the Mexica archaeological collections. Conservators have designed and implemented a series of protocols that are applied to both new finds as well as objects that are part of the research collections and displays in the Templo Mayor Museum.
This chapter discusses the archaeology of childhood from a museum perspective. It presents data from British museums showing that material is held in collections that can evidence the existence and sometimes also the activities of children in the more distant past. Even remains of children themselves, such as ‘Charlie’, the skeleton of a young child on display at the Alexander Keiller Museum, can prove important, particularly for younger visitors to such museums. Some examples of museum displays where children from the deeper past have been included and consideration of the curatorial perspective (how important and relevant do curators of archaeological material consider displaying such material to be? Do they think it is feasible to do so?) will be also be covered.