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Thursday, May 16 • 4:00pm - 4:30pm
(Practical Approaches to Technical Research in Low-Tech Settings) In-Situ Measurements of the Burial Environment Provide a Key to Conservation Treatment and Management Options of the Archaeological Heritage

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Previous studies in 2017, supported by the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology in Turkey, at the Bronze Age site of Kaman-Kalehöyük had shown that the in-situ measurements on site of pH, chloride, and redox potential with small, portable meters of relatively low cost provided insight into the corrosion mechanisms of the bronze artifacts and the archaeological context from which they were excavated. Excavations in 2018 at Büklükale, a Hittite fortification on the Kizilirmak River, offered the conservation team access to the burial conditions of a recently excavated site. This data shows that the reactivity of the iron-rich calcareous soils changed in a systematic way over time. Further correlations can be drawn between the pH, chloride content, and redox potential of the bronze objects with associated soil, burial depth, and their corrosion potential in storage by monitoring the consumption of oxygen in hermetically sealed Escal bags. Recommendations for conservators include simple tests on soil and representative artifacts as a guide to predict decay behavior in storage for post-excavation collection management. Specific recommendations include taking chloride or conductivity measurements down the vertical side of the trench to locate the drip-line, testing the chloride content of representative metal artifacts with a flat head electrode in a 0.05 M NaNO3 electrolyte solution, testing the redox potential of representative artefacts, and examining the micromorphology of the bronze (dendritic or annealed). These test protocols may be applied to the interpretation of material degradation at all archaeological sites including other metals and may be adapted for other porous materials such as ceramic. Those metal objects found to have a high corrosion potential may be stored in desiccated or anoxic microclimates in Escal bags as a preventive conservation measure.

avatar for Alice Boccia Paterakis

Alice Boccia Paterakis

Director of Conservation, Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology
A MAC graduate of the Queen’s University conservation program, Alice received her PhD in conservation from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, in 2011. She served as Director of Conservation for the Athenian Agora of the American School of Classical Studies... Read More →

Thursday May 16, 2019 4:00pm - 4:30pm EDT
Salon A1, Uncas Ballroom Sky Convention Center, Mohegan Sun
  General Session, Practical Approaches to Technical Research in Low-Tech Settings
  • Ticketed Included in Main Registration
  • Authors in Publication Order Dr. Alice Boccia Paterakis
  • Abstract ID 18860
  • Tags archaeological,excavation,soil,testing,pH,chloride,redox potential,bronze,conservation,corrosion,collection,management,preventive conservation