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Subject: Woven papyrus sandals

Woven papyrus sandals

From: Jeff Illingworth <baskets>
Date: Monday, August 7, 2000
Teresa K. Moreno <t.k.moreno [at] durham__ac__uk> writes

>I am looking for suggestions on how to go about cleaning and
>consolidating woven papyrus sandals....
>The sandals are eventually going to go on display, and because of
>this they will need to be consolidated.  I am planning on running
>tests with various consolidants including cellulose ether, Mowilith
>DMC2 (PVA emulsion), PEG 1000, and PEG 1500.  Are there any
>suggestions regarding these or other consolidants?

Having dealt with over 12,000 assorted perishable artifacts from
both an archaeological/analytical and conservation since my
undergraduate days, I have a lot of sympathy for your situation. In
fact, we have just completed the cleaning of nearly 7,000 carbonized
burial shrouds from Bronze Age Jordan. I have found that one of the
best techniques for cleaning such artifacts involves judicious use
of compressed air. Typically, we lay the artifacts out under a
variable power stereoscopic microscope and gently blow as much of
the dirt off as possible. In situations where the dirt is adherent
(especially in the case of rodent or bat feces) we will physically
remove the residue with dissecting tools. Only rarely will we apply
any form of moisture to the artifact.

As far as the conservation of such material goes, we attempt to
avoid applying any form of consolidant to dry perishable material.
Most such additives have a negative impact on analytical techniques.
In those situations where we cannot successfully analyze a dry
artifact with out some form of conservation, we often employ
parylene conformal coating. This technique does not impact the
artifacts appearance, nor does it impact any of the standard
analytical techniques which we employ. This technique is especially
useful on delicate charred material.

Should you have any further questions or concerns, please do not
hesitate to contact me.

J. S. Illingworth
Analyst and Conservator
Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute
501 East 38th Street
Erie, PA  16546
Fax: 814-824-2594

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:12
                  Distributed: Friday, August 11, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-14-12-004
Received on Monday, 7 August, 2000

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