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Subject: Clay tablets

Clay tablets

From: Helena Jaeschke <mrshjaeschke>
Date: Wednesday, October 30, 1996
John Woodhouse <jwoodhou [at] fs1__li__man__ac__uk> writes

>... we have a number of
>small clay tablets stored within individual small boxes. A number of
>the tablets have either cracks/fissures or small items that have come
>adrift . We could re-attach the small pieces that have broken off
>quite easily as we can readily see where they are from

Repairing clay tablets is straightforward provided the tablets were
fully fired and the clay is hard. A viscous solution of Paraloid B72
(Acryloid B72 in the USA) in acetone is easy to use and relatively
non-toxic. A more dilute solution acts as a consolidant in weak
areas near the join. Small polythene bottles with a nozzle
(available from art shops) are ideal for storing the dilute and
viscous solutions and applying them to the objects.

Many clay tablets were poorly fired when made. Some institutions
have in the past baked these to prevent the clay minerals reacting
to atmospheric water. This compromises the tablets for possible
thermoluminescence dating. (However, consolidating with acrylic
resin can make analysis difficult also).

Helena Jaeschke

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:43
                Distributed: Thursday, October 31, 1996
                       Message Id: cdl-10-43-010
                                  ***
Received on Wednesday, 30 October, 1996

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