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Subject: Waterlogged ivory

Waterlogged ivory

From: Genevieve M. LeMoine <glemoine>
Date: Wednesday, July 8, 1998
I am not a conservator, but have worked with a number of different
conservators preserving waterlogged ivory from archaeological sites
in the Canadian Arctic. In cases where the ivory was sound, we
successfully dried pieces very slowly. Individual pieces were kept
in plastic baggies, tied shut and stored in a refrigerator (or, in
the field, in a tent). Every day or two (or even every week), we
would wipe our the accumulated condensation, until no more
accumulated, at which point the piece was considered stable. This
works best with bone or antler, but it seems to also work with very
sound ivory (our pieces were often frozen as well as waterlogged).

I would not recommend deciding about the soundness of the ivory
without an expert opinion. Try contacting either CCI or the Prince
of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife, of conservators at
the Canadian Museum of Civilization (I apologize, I do not have
e-mail addresses for them)

Genevieve LeMoine
The Peary-MacMillan Arctic
Museum Bowdoin College
9500 College Station
Brunswick ME 04011-8495
Fax: 207-725-2499

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:10
                  Distributed: Tuesday, July 14, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-10-004
Received on Wednesday, 8 July, 1998

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