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Subject: Buried paper

Buried paper

From: Niccolo Caldararo <caldararo>
Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001
Lisa Usman <tcrnliu [at] ucl__ac__uk> writes

>I am currently studying a postgrad course at UCL in forensic
>archaeology. Originally I trained as an archaeological conservator
>so, with this background, I am looking at the excavation, treatment
>and retrieval of information from paper documents found in a modern
>human burial.

You might want to contact  Dr. William Rathje, the author and
archaeologist who headed the Tucson Garbage Project (1973).  They
recovered tons of paper products during their work.  I would think
that Dr. Nancy Odegaard at the Arizona State Museum would also be a
good source of information on this.  The state of preservation of
the paper depends on the length of burial, the soil type, local
climate (dry or moist), soil micro-organisms, type of paper and
other factors.  The goal of conservation in archaeology related to
documents  often revolves around the questions which the
archaeological dig is oriented to answer.  Often paper products in
historic sites are bagged for later examination and treatment and
their immediate conservation is only directed to stability (ie,
prevent loss/gain of moisture, mold growth, etc); in forensic cases,
documents may provide information on the identity of  the victim and
treatment may only be directed to preserve certain vital

Niccolo Caldararo
Director and Chief Conservator
Conservation Art Service

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:19
                 Distributed: Tuesday, August 21, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-15-19-001
Received on Saturday, 18 August, 2001

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