THE RECOVERY AND DRYING OF TEXTILES FROM A DEEP OCEAN HISTORIC SHIPWRECK
KATHRYN A. JAKES, & JOHN C. MITCHELL
ABSTRACT—A trunk full of waterlogged and degraded textiles recovered from the site of S.S. Central America, which sank off the coast of the Carolinas in 1857, provided the opportunity to conduct research in the identification and characterization of such materials as well as in the appropriate methods for their conservation. The plan included removal of each item from the trunk, immersion in demineralized water, assessment of each item, arrangement on fiberglass screens, and rapid freezing. Experiments conducted to study the effects of air drying, ethanol dehydration, critical-point drying, vacuum freeze drying, and slow drying in the frozen state revealed vacuum freeze drying to be the method most disruptive to fabric and fiber structure. Slow drying while in the frozen state resulted in fibers and fabrics with visible structure and few contaminating deposits on the surface.
3. RECOVERY OPERATION
4. DRYING EXPERIMENTS
5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
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