For example, a parchment charter that is difficult to open should be humidified and flattened, rather than repeatedly opened and closed which will eventually cause a split, even though the humidity may cause damage on a micro level.
Overall, I found the first two days of the event informative and inspiring, and it provided a great base for the practical session that followed.
After this, Professor Matthew Collins from the University of York presented his research which focuses on the identification of skins in our archive, and how this can tell us about the history of livestock management and craft.
Dating of parchment
The talks during the first two days focused on the making and analysis of parchment.
The first talk was by Theresa Lupi, freelance Book and Paper Conservator in Malta, who discussed aspects of codicology and how it can be helpful to conservators.
Parchment documents were often recycled and reused in the past, and fragments can be found in the bindings of later books or used a wrappers for other items.
These fragments can give clues to the how manuscripts were historically used.
The event consisted of two days of lectures, followed by a two-day practical session.
The lectures were open to a large number of people, whereas the practical workshop was limited to a maximum of 15 attendees.
The day ended with a presentation by Jiří Vnouček, Conservator of Parchment and Paper at the Royal Library of Copenhagen.
Jiří discussed the methods of parchment making and how it has changed over the centuries.
Since many of the treatments we use in paper conservation utilise water, we have to employ methods that use the smallest amount possible to avoid irreparable damage.