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Subject: Identifying parchment

Identifying parchment

From: James Elwing <elgur>
Date: Monday, May 6, 2002
I have a problem I have not experienced before, distinguishing
animal from vegetable parchment. The document is an Italian
university degree from 1933 which has slight mould. It has unrolled
with humidification and difficulty It is mottled dark and hard. I
have assumed it to be vegetable parchment, probably supported by its
pH of  approximately 3.75, and the fact that I have never seen
parchment or vellum go so dark or hard, but it cockles to some
extent similar to true parchment.

Is there any simple non-destructive test, preferably not involving
esoteric chemicals I well may not possess, which might readily
confirm its nature?

James Elwing
Archive conservator
Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:75
                   Distributed: Tuesday, May 7, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-15-75-011
Received on Monday, 6 May, 2002

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