Archaeological Conservation Using Polymers: Practical by C. Wayne Smith

By C. Wayne Smith

Over the years, archaeologists have constructed a few concepts for maintaining historic artifacts for destiny generations. in addition to those concepts, researchers have constructed a chain of moral rules for treating fabrics in a manner that enables them to be not just saw and analyzed for the current, but in addition in re-studied sooner or later. Conservation recommendations used in the past, notwithstanding, have supplied artifacts just a constrained lifespan, and every now and then they don't paintings good with water-logged fabrics. in the previous few years, archaeological chemistry and matters of toughness checking out became important concerns within the improvement of conservation remedy techniques. This challenge turned relatively acute while individuals of the Texas A&M Nautical Archaeology software have been referred to as directly to preserve artifacts from l. a. Belle, the sunken send of los angeles Salle excavated within the Nineties off the coast of Texas by way of the Texas historic fee. "Entombed within the dust that sealed it from decay for over 3 centuries," C. Wayne Smith writes in his advent, "the waterlogged hull and millions of fragile artifacts, together with mind subject within the cranium of 1 unlucky sailor, might were a futile conservation attempt with out new upkeep technologies."Working with Dow Corning company, Texas A&M’s Archaeological maintenance learn Lab (APRL), and the Conservation examine Lab (CRL), Smith and his colleagues in A&M’s Nautical Archaeology application got down to increase a sequence of chemistries and methods that will offer profitable and reasonable therapy recommendations for natural fabrics. during this ground-breaking description of the strategies and fabrics that have been built, Smith explains those options in ways in which will enable museums and old societies to preserve extra good artifacts for touring shows and interactive monitors and may permit researchers to preserve new discoveries with out sacrificing vital details. past the benefits provided by way of polymer alternative (Passivation Polymer) applied sciences, Smith considers an idea seldom addressed in conservation: artistry. Variance in apparatus, relative humidity, laboratory format, meant effects, and point of workmanship all impact researchers’ skill to procure constant and aesthetically right samples and require a willingness to discover remedy parameters and combos of polymers. Smith prescribes a good structure for daily conservation of small natural artifacts after which examines many of the mechanical strategies used to strategy a number of natural fabrics from marine and land websites. He concludes with an exploration of recent instruments and applied sciences that could support conservators devise greater conservation techniques, together with CT scans and computing device Aided layout photographs and stereolithography. All archaeologists, conservators, and museologists operating with perishable artifacts will enjoy the cautious explication of those new procedures, and people wishing to include a few or them all will locate the step by step directions for doing so.

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Additional resources for Archaeological Conservation Using Polymers: Practical Applications for Organic Artifact Stabilization (Texas A&M University Anthropology Series)

Example text

To a given volume of PR- polymer, use a % (by weight) addition of CR- and mix thoroughly. The artifact should then be carefully transferred and totally immersed in the vat of polymer solution. Aluminum mesh or some other mechanism is required to prevent the artifact from floating during acetone/polymer displacement. Once the artifact is secure in the solution, place the vat into a vacuum chamber. A slight reduction in pressure is sufficient to cause small bubbles to flow from the artifact. When slight bubbling occurs, lock off the vacuum chamber and turn off the pump.

Basic beaker and gas trap setup with heat lamp and temperature probe added: (A) beaker with wood sample—no oil; (B) vacuum line to gas trap; (C) gas trap mounted in dry ice; (D) container with dry ice; (E) vacuum line to vacuum pump; (F) heat lamp—adjustable height; (G) temperature probe. 00 gassing from the sample was comparable to samples B, C, and D. A lack of media to support the degraded cell structure resulted in greater damage to this section of waterlogged wood.  intensity) higher than those recorded for sample D.

There is no hurry to continue treatment on desiccated wood. The artifact can safely drain for several hours and, if necessary, be stored indefinitely in solution until continued treatment can occur. . Before a catalyst is applied, excess bulking agent needs to be removed from the artifact’s surfaces. While many of the polymer solutions are sticky to the touch, they are easily wiped from the wood surfaces using Q-tips or clean cloths. To remove excess amounts of bulking agent from cracks and crevices, the artifact can be wiped with a rag soaked in CR-.

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