Our Committee

Meet the large team of committee members who run the Icon Archaeology group

Helen Ganiaris

Chair, Icon Archaeology Group

I have been Chair of the Archaeology Group since 2018. In March 2019, I retired from the Museum of London from the post of Conservation Manager of archaeology, objects and paper. I started at the Museum in 1980 as an archaeological conservator conserving finds from the numerous excavations, many of them waterlogged sites. I led the archaeological conservation team until 2001 and then took on the wider management role.

My areas of interest included involvement of volunteers in conservation, archaeological archive standards and display case materials. I am a Fellow of IIC and before retirement I was an assessor for PACR and an Honorary Research Fellow, University College London. Through these roles and my years at the Museum, I feel privileged to have been involved in the training of archaeological conservators from many conservation programmes. My main project for Icon AG is working towards the publication of the next edition of First Aid for Finds.

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Dr Alaina Schmisseur

Vice-Chair, Icon Archaeology Group

After a BA in Classics and an MA in Medieval Archaeology, I completed the MSc in Conservation for Archaeology and Museums at UCL in 2008. In 2019 I completed a  PhD in Archaeology and Conservation at the University of York.

After a decade or so working in a variety of national museums and for commercial archaeology units I started a private practice based in York. I now provide conservation work to churches, to museums without conservation staff, to local authorities, and I do a bit of teaching as well! I love the varied nature of conservation. I’ve been part of the ICON Archaeology Group committee since 2013 and am currently Vice Chair.

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Ellie Rowley-Conwy

Treasurer, Icon Archaeology Group

I completed the MA in Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects at Durham University in 2012. Until recently my work focused mainly on arms and armour at the Royal Armouries, Leeds. While there I gained experience working on all types of materials, with metals making up about half of this.

I am also an archaeologist and I work each year as the Finds Manager and Conservation Consultant for the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project; a research excavation in Scotland.  My current post focuses more on preventive conservation and project management as I am the Assistant Project Conservator for the Restoration and Renewal project at the Houses of Parliament.  In this role I will help coordinate the decant and care of heritage items from the Palace of Westminster.

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Luisa Duarte

Secretary and Events Officer, Icon Archaeology Group

I am an archaeological conservator of 10 years’ experience. After graduating from UCL with an MA and an MSc in conservation in 2010, I worked as an object conservator for the Imperial War Museum, moving to MOLA in 2011.

I have worked as an archaeological conservator at the Museum of London for two years. I specialise in the conservation of waterlogged organics and the display of archaeological materials in non-museum environments.

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Vicky Garlick

Events Officer, Icon Archaeology Group

I completed a Masters degree in the Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects at Durham University in 2012. This included a nine-month placement at the National Museum of Wales.

Following graduation I worked briefly at the Royal Armouries Museum before taking up a position teaching the practical elements of conservation at Durham University. I have been fortunate to work on a range of interesting objects and materials throughout my career and I am currently working towards Icon accreditation.

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Hazel Gardiner

Communications Officer, Icon Archaeology Group

At UCL I completed the MA in Principles of Conservation in 2009 and the MSc in Conservation for Archaeology and Museum in 2011, following a career holding research and research-related posts at a number of University of London institutions.

Since becoming a conservator, I have held contract posts at the British Museum, the Ashmolean Museum, the conservation division of the Church of England and Birmingham Museums Trust. I have also worked as a freelancer on investigative archaeological projects in the UK and abroad, and for museums and institutions. 

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Charlotte Wilkinson

Communications Officer, Icon Archaeology Group

After completing a Masters in the Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects at Durham University, I began working as an Archaeological Conservator at the York Archaeological Trust in 2015.

Over the last five years I have been lucky enough to work on a number of interesting projects both locally and further afield, which have allowed me to pursue my interest in the conservation of organic objects and the process of freeze-drying. I am currently working toward Icon accreditation.

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Claire Woodhead ACR

Advocacy Officer, Icon Archaeology Group

I work for the Hampshire Cultural Trust in Winchester, which has been home since 2007. This is my second stint on the Archaeology Group Committee, having previously served from 2008–2016.

In a former life I gained a BA (Hons) in ceramics and worked as a studio potter and a violin teacher in Devon, before completing the MA Conservation of Historic Objects at the University of Lincoln in 2007.  I became accredited in 2011 and have since completed an MA in Regional and Local History and Archaeology, graduating with distinction in 2015.  My interests are archaeological, ceramic and natural science conservation and I enjoy combining all these and more through work.

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Emma Smith

Emerging Professionals Liaison Officer, Icon Archaeology Group

I gained a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Cambridge in 2015 and an MPhil in Textile Conservation from the Centre for Textile Conservation, University of Glasgow in 2019. I have held a number of roles within the heritage field: as a field archaeologist on numerous projects, notably the Ness of Brodgar; as a Research Assistant for the ERC funded PROCON Project at the McDonald Institute for Archaeology; and working within conservation studios at the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Library, where I held a Clothworkers' Company funded internship.

I have just begun a Postgraduate Textile Conservation Internship at the Abegg-Stiftung, Switzerland. I am particularly interested in the analysis and conservation of archaeological textiles, which I hope to pursue throughout my career. I am also interested in increasing diversity within conservation, having previously worked in Widening Participation at the University of Cambridge. 

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Mags Felter ACR

Committee Member, Icon Archaeology Group

I am Senior Conservator at York Archaeological Trust, where I have worked since 2005. I work on freshly excavated material and archaeological museum objects. I have a keen interest in bone and antler objects and metals and also in on-site conservation and lifting of fragile materials.

I like to get involved with site conservation abroad and have attended excavations/heritage sites in Orkney, Turkey, Jordan, Turkmenistan and Azerbeijan, as well as sites closer to home. I am an associate member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) and currently serve as Secretary for the Finds Special Interest Group. I am CIfA Finds Group Representative for the Archaeology Group. In 2021-22 I will be on sabbatical from YAT and on a year-long contract in Oslo at the Museum of Cultural History.

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