Her Latest Accomplishment: Restoring a 3000-year-old ceramic pot excavated at Muweilah, in the United Arab Emirates. “It’s rare to come across a ceramic as large as this pot, and it can be a huge challenge in a field.
The Bryn Mawr Connection: Her old Bryn Mawr professor, Peter Magee, gave her the job. “Peter kept mentioning that he had this really big pot he wanted me to work on. He wasn’t kidding!” The pot clears five feet, and its sherds were stored in five or six burlap rice sacks. To restore the jar, Briana got some help from a familiar source: “I was fortunate enough to have many wonderful BMC undergrads as my interns for the four seasons we worked on what we lovingly call The Big Pot.” The students not only gave invaluable assistance—for instance, just lifting pieces into place took at least two people—but also got real-world experience in ceramics conservation.
A Change of Plans: When Briana arrived on campus, she was expecting to major in French, but was so captivated by a freshman archaeology class that she ended up as a double major: French and Francophone Studies and Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. And she gives her professors high marks for encouraging her to pursue both passions, “sometimes seamlessly as with the class on the archaeology of Gaul in French—during my junior year abroad in France.”
The Best Thing about Bryn Mawr: Even while pursuing her twin academic passions, Briana was able to satisfy her love of the arts by taking a lot of theater classes and working as a tech and stage manager. “One of the great things about Bryn Mawr is that it allows you to be open to a variety of experiences,” she says.
Favorite Memories: When Briana reminisces about Bryn Mawr, her top picks are a mix of fun and study: her field trip to the United Arab Emirates to work on Professor Magee’s excavation; dorm life (especially Halloween at Rhoads and Radnor Halloween and her year as a customs person on Pem West), and her semester playing on The Lame Ducks, the Bi-Co intramural hockey team.
The Museum or the Field? “As an object conservator, I am most interested in modern and contemporary works. The questions in that field are constantly evolving, and modern materials are not entirely understood,” says Briana, who is currently tackling a time-based digital work for the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. “But archaeology introduced me to conservation work, and I still love being in the field.”