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Subject: Bone and sand

Bone and sand

From: Thomas Gutebier <thomas.gutebier>
Date: Tuesday, April 13, 2004
I am trying to gather arguments to use in a discussion regarding
presenting bones in a new diorama with a model of Stellers sea
cow--Hydrodamalis gigas.  During the 18th century, naturalists
visited the Bering Island, collected bones, originally to the
extinct giant sea cow, from the butchering fields and assembled more
or less complete skeletons.

Goteborg Natural History Museum in Sweden, as many other museums,
has parts of a skeleton on display and some more bones from
different individuals of this animal in the collection. The bones
have been given to the museum many years ago by A.E. Nordenskild who
bought them during the Swedish Vega Expedition in 1879.  The
separate bones are now part of a new diorama at our museum, together
with a reconstruction model of the Steller sea cow. Some of these
original bones are incorporated and lying beneath the model on or
partly embedded in an artificial seaground with a layer of common
industrial sand from a gravel-pit. The bones have neither been
impregnated or prepared for this special kind of presentation.  I
have concerns about the possible risk of sand breaking down the
surface of the bones by vibrations caused by different activities at
the museum during many years. Will different materials in the sand
even chemically damage the bones?

Is there anyone with experience of exposing bones in this unusual
way? Has anyone any comment on this issue?

Thomas Gutebier
Goteborg Natural History Museum
Box 7283
SE-402 35 Goteborg, Sweden

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:66
                 Distributed: Thursday, April 15, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-17-66-018
Received on Tuesday, 13 April, 2004

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