Thursday May 18th we had a visit from a local conservationist Carl Hughes from Meadowlark Memorials. It was different than what I expected. My first thought was it would be something like a walking lecture, identifying signs of damage and explaining issues around that damage. In that way I was expecting something more like the historian’s tour. Though I know the tour with the conservationist was in a similar style, I took more away from it. Several of the graves like Bessie, Joseph and Isaac in sections D were graves I have documented and written up monument analysis forms for. When Carl discussed these graves, either referring to damage like staining or delamination, it sparked a cord with me because I already had a familiarity with the monuments.
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I knew these graves already, and was learning to apply the information being given to me directly in the field. That is a good feeling and a very interactive way to learn. Often I’ve found academic classrooms very challenging to apply the information taught though lectures or labs. Having been able to learn more about the data collection process and then have a visit from a conservationist for me is an excellent way to reflect on the course material already presented. This also gave me an opportunity to hunt for the damage spoken about. In figure 1 and 2 above there are signs of delamination from flaking sandstone. When I found that out it was surprising I never thought of sandstone being used in monuments and did not catch it when I originally looks at the monument when filling out its analysis form. When I went back to the monument to correct form it took me by surprise how much I had missed and was able to identify when I took a second look.
The monument of James Cohen shown above is a perfect example of a monument that needs conservation. The biological life in the cemetery like moss, lichen and insects have taken up residence on the monument. Though a now flourishing ecosystem can be found on the monuments surface and all over the cement fill and kerbing. This ecosystem is also slowly destroying the monument. The way this monument has been preserved it also makes space for water to cover it and wear away at the marble, moss and lichen have an opportunity to grow in those conditions. Examples of the types of lichen found in the cemetery are below in figure 3 and 4. The most common ones I found when examining the monuments in section D and E were the curtsy (crustose) lichen and the leafy (foliose) lichen as cited by the British lichen society. Both of these types of lichen eat away at the monuments made of soft materials like marble or sandstone they can begin to breakdown and stain the stone quickly. Both of the examples below are of lichen that is on granite monuments. The lichen tended to be more abundant on granite and cement. Similar to marble it begun to eat away at these materials however it does so more aggressively due to the materials being harder. Lichen often causes more damage then most other fungi due to its aggressive nature.