Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Waterlogged bone

Waterlogged bone

From: Claire Peachey <peachey.claire>
Date: Friday, February 25, 2000
Jennifer French <jensara87 [at] hotmail__com> writes

>I am currently a graduate student at Durham University studying for
>a MA in Conservation of Historic Objects.  I am writing a paper on
>waterlogged archaeological bone and was interested to hear from
>anyone who has had experienced with this type of material.

The way waterlogged bone is treated depends very much on what type
of object it is and what types of studies are likely to be carried
out on it.  Human skeletal remains, animal remains, and manufactured
artifacts usually require different approaches.  It is best to
consult with those who will be studying the material, to determine
what kind of handling, storage, and chemical intervention are
acceptable and will not cause contamination.  Much waterlogged bone
can be successfully air-dried under controlled conditions, and this
is often the best choice.  In some cases, consolidation with a
water-based acrylic emulsion or dispersion can be successful,
although some people have reported difficulty in removing some of
these materials if later chemical analysis of the bone is desired. I
personally feel that consolidation of human remains should be
avoided.  See the following paper for a discussion of consolidation
of bone in general, and for further references:

    J.S. Johnson
    Consolidation of Archaeological Bone: A Conservation Perspective
    Journal of Field Archaeology 21-1994-221-233

Claire Peachey
Underwater Archaeology
Naval Historical Center
Washington, DC

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:45
                 Distributed: Friday, February 25, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-13-45-003
Received on Friday, 25 February, 2000

[Search all CoOL documents]