>No. The salt growth was post-excavation.
That makes sense now. And as they are formed of bile pigments,
cholesterol, and calcium salts - it seems likely that it's calcium salts
forming. There is a possibility of post-depositional absorption of salts
from the soil, but you say it was dry so there is a lesser likelihood
there. Thanks for sharing this with us.
>The soil block was lifted and
>brought to London and then, for the purposes of display, someone burrowed
>down until the gallstones were exposed. They were growing salts as a result
>of about 60 years in the Wellcome store. The body came from the British
>Sudan but I can't remember the site. It might be Jebel Moya (phonetic
>> You note that gallstones are preserved in a dry environment and I am
>> wondering how then it could produce salts with no moisture present? You
>> say "they were" growing salts when excavated so I presume it was not
>> during the preservation process ?
>>>Gallstones are certainly preserved in a dry environment. One of my more
>>>bizarre conservation tasks while working in the Wellcome Historical Museum
>>>was to preserve the large gallstones which had been lifted with the
>>>part of a skeleton in a soil block. The block had been excavated until
>>>gallstones were exposed on the surface and they were growing salts like no
>>>----- Original Message -----
>>>From: "Stiof MacAmhalghaidh" <[log in to unmask]>
>>>To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>Sent: Thursday, July 13, 2006 11:55 PM
>>>Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] Heritage & carbon emissions
>>>>> When people have to go, they have to go, and occasionally there must be
>>>>> odd gallstone. So, I would assume the number of visitors is
>>>>> the number of Gallstones (if they are preserved).
>>>> Michael wins the prize for 'surreal message of the week'.