Dr Emily Williams (Associate Professor, Department of Archaeology)
Emily’s Story Bio
As a child, Emily Williams’ best days were spent wriggling into pharaonic tombs that had become choked with sand and small pebbles or wandering around vast temple complexes looking for secret chambers. In her head she was always the first (and only) person to visit—despite the undeniable proof that this was not quite true provided by her two noisy sisters who explored alongside her.
There was lots to imagine and lots of stories to get lost in. On the drives to and from the sites, her father would keep everyone distracted from childish ponderings of “are we nearly there yet?” by telling them mythological and even Shakespearean stories. Thus, objects and narratives became inextricably linked before she even knew it. Later, working on an archaeological site, Emily learned about the field of conservation and how it could be used to tie objects not just to historical moments but to the lives of the people who touched them. Small microscopic wear on the surface caused by an imperfection in the sharpening of a tool, corrosion in the shape of fingerprints caused by handling, even the patterns created in a shoe sole by the way someone walked, all tell us something about the people who interacted with these objects. For Emily this was a dream career that mixed science, art and stories. Her work since has told a number of object related stories about the porringer melted in an early cooking disaster, or the tombstone carved as an emancipatory statement or even the early practitioners of the conservation field and the experiments they conducted. She is excited to be working with Teti Dragas to explore how emerging conservators use objects and narratives to shape their own exploration of the conservation.