Treatment of a British Shako Badge from Fort Niagara
Drawing of Badge as used on a Shako Cap circa 1814
Before Treatment
Front
Before Treatment
Reverse
This object was found in an archeological excavation of a midden (refuse pit) at Old Fort Niagara, near the outlet of the Niagara River into Lake Ontario in the 2004 season.

Archeological conservation is focused on restoring stability and "readability" of an artifact for research, whereas the treatment of a decorative art object generally places more value on the final aesthetic appearance. This particular object is unique for several reasons. Firstly, no other examples are known to exist of this Shako imprinted with the "8" of the King's 8th Regiment, though it was certainly manufactured between 1812 and 1816 based on the overall pattern. Secondly, the time-line of control of Fort Niagara places this British artifact in the rubbish pit during a period of American occupation (1815 onwards). And thirdly, we found evidence of lead solder on the reverse of the object, where traditionally it would have been sewn to British soldier's hat.
Veiw of Front
Under 20x Magnification
After Treatment
Front
After Treatment
Reverse
The treatment itself initially involved extensive research of the historical manufacture and known history of Shako Badges. Analysis confirmed the use of copper alloy as the badge's core. The object was documented before and after treatment. Treatment focused on removal of corrosion products and dirt accretions. A final treatment with a corrosion inhibitor prepared the object for return to the Old Fort Niagara museum for display and research.
Cleaning treatment was done almost entirely under magnification.
Julie Parker
Objects Conservator
720-429-3906
Julie(at)ParkerArtConservation(dot)com
PO Box 3644 Littleton CO 80161
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