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Subject: Designing freeze-drier

Designing freeze-drier

From: Jonathan M. Leader <leaderj>
Date: Friday, December 6, 1996
On 4 Dec 96 Howard Wellman <106000.3617 [at] compuserve__com> wrote:

>The Institute of Nautical Archaeology in Egypt is presently
>developing a conservation laboratory in conjunction with the Supreme
>Council of Antiquities and the National Maritime Museum in
>Alexandria.  We are presently conserving a wide range of materials
>excavated from the Sadana Island Shipwreck in the Red Sea.  Among
>this material are organic materials such as leather, bone, wood (no
>major ship timbers, thank God), seeds and coconuts.


>I have read the article in Studies (Kelly 1980; 25:176-179), about a
>simple system, but I wondered if anyone else had any advice on the
>proper equipment, or advances in chamber/condenser technology that I
>should research before approaching suppliers/engineers here in
>Egypt.  I have been in contact with two companies in the UK about
>their proprietary systems, and have been cribbing from their tech
>sheets, but I would still appreciate any advice. Thanks,

Cribbing from the contemporary tech sheets is a very good idea,
relying on Kelly 1980 is not (except as a very simple overview). The
technology has significantly advanced.

New general purpose freeze dryers of appropriate size here in the
USA are approximately $40K.  This normally includes automated
systems, variable heat, and water condensors of reasonable size.
Building a system may not actually save you much money in the long
run. The portions that are usually simplified for cost are those
that free personnel to pursue other duties, or, ensure the even and
precise treatment of the materials. You end up trading people time
for equipment time with occasional deleterious effects.

The Supreme Council for Antiquities should have been able to wrangle
a dispensation for the import of essential equipment benefiting the
state. If this went /la'azazel/, then you might want to consider
politicking for the necessary support. Frankly, given Egypt's modus
vivendi failure to have this basic support does not bode well for
overall success of the project.

If you won't be offended by my asking, who have you identified
internationally for support in covering the initial costs (e.g.,

Jonathan M. Leader. Ph.d.
1321 Pendleton Street
Columbia, SC 29208
Fax: 803-254-1338

                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:54
                 Distributed: Friday, December 6, 1996
                       Message Id: cdl-10-54-002
Received on Friday, 6 December, 1996

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