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Subject: Propolis

Propolis

From: Barbara Appelbaum <aandh>
Date: Friday, October 25, 1996
Allister C. Guy <allister [at] elms__demon__co__uk> writes

>... I am a beekeeper
>and have been asked by some of our government conservators if I
>could supply them with propolis.  As you will most likely be aware,
>propolis has antibacterial properties which the bees make use of.
>
>I was curious why the conservators would want propolis and they told
>me that it was for repairing Mediaeval wax seals.  They wanted to
>know if I have any knowledge of the use of propolis and wax.

I am responding to this one in the open, even though the querier
felt that conservators might not be interested in the answers.
Obviously he doesn't know conservators very well!  The AATA
Cumulative index lists two articles under propolis, one on the use
in Cremonese violin varnishes, and the other from a Hungarian
journal on the use of propolis to impregnate what sounds like an
archaeological wooden pail (24-843). In case any conservators think
that they already have enough competition, the abstract says that
"Bees themselves use this material for conservation ...  of the
hive."  In answer to the query, it could probably fairly be said
that many conservators do not agree with the idea of using natural
materials as conservation materials, but would prefer making up their
own mixtures from consistent synthetic ones or from natural
materials that have been processed to produce a uniform product.  On
the other hand, there are conservation problems which are very
difficult to deal with, and sometimes a natural material seems to do
what other materials don't.

B. Appelbaum

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:42
                 Distributed: Monday, October 28, 1996
                       Message Id: cdl-10-42-004
                                  ***
Received on Friday, 25 October, 1996

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