skip to Main Content

An Introduction to Archaeological Leather and its Conservation

An Introduction to Archaeological Leather and its Conservation

21st - 22nd Oct 2024 I £300
21st - 22nd Oct 2024 I £300

The course will be held at the Historic England Laboratories, Portsmouth.

This course combines presentations and practical sessions to introduce course participants to the lifespan of leather, from production to burial and subsequent conservation. Topics covered are listed below and will be illustrated throughout with case studies and practical examples. Participants are welcome to bring their own objects / images to discuss any conservation issues with the tutors towards the end of the course.

The course will conclude with a visit to the Mary Rose conservation facilities and Museum to see Tudor leather.

Topics include:

  • The making of leather – Transforming skins into a useable material
  • The preservation of leather – Conditions required, where to expect leather finds, first aid and recovery.
  • Analysis and identification – Introduction to analytical techniques used to extract information from leather, and a practical session on species identification using grain patterns.
  • Documentation and conservation options for archaeological leather and associated materials.
  • Packaging and recommended storage environments
  • Case studies and discussion

Practical sessions include:

  • Microscopic & magnified examination for animal species identification
  • Drawing and registration of leather
  • Vacuum-freeze drying of leather

Field trip:

  • An opportunity to see some leather artefacts from the Mary Rose close-up, inspect past conservation treatments and see leather on display. The entrance fee to the museum is included in the course fee.

This course is suitable for conservators and conservation students who have not worked with archaeological leather or curators/ collections managers who want to learn more about archaeological leather, as well as experts in related fields.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

To book your place, please email your contact details and a brief summary of your interest in this topic to Cyd Clift at

Please let us know in advance if you have any specific accessibility requirements.

Share this course

The Leather Conservation Centre
Grosvenor Chambers
Grosvenor Centre
Union Street

01604 719766