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ARCHAEOBOTANY  July 2007

ARCHAEOBOTANY July 2007

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Subject:

Re: TBA Hallstatt

From:

Niels Bleicher <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The archaeobotany mailing list <[log in to unmask]>, Niels Bleicher <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 21 Jul 2007 11:47:14 +0200

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text/plain

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This is an effect of the salt. All organic remains from that mine are perfectly preserved. I once examined a rucksack that was found there made of leather. You could use it without being careful. I wouldn´t hesitate to build a house from the timber there. There is no need to protect the wood from water - the salt has prevented any decay so you can extract the salt and the item will still not change more than any modern piece of wood!
The wood is pinus. The german word "kiefer" comes from "kien" meaning lighting-splinter and latin "ferre". It has a high amount of natural resin. You don´t have to add extra-fuel. It was used for light until at least early modern times.
I am not quite sure whether every pinus-wood works equally well - a case for experimental work ...
Niels


> Just as a matter of interest - I was many years ago given a piece of salt 
> saturated
> wood from the Hallstatt mine.  It was used to light the way for the 
> miners.  I looked
> at it about 2 years ago and it was unchanged - is it the salt, or perhaps 
> the fuel it was
> dipped into to light it that has preserved it?  I can't smell any odor or 
> see signs of
> fuel - I am wondering if it was a special kind of wood they chose that 
> will naturally burn and of course the salt that has prevented decay (its 
> just wrapped up in a paper towel) ?
> I'd have thought over the years it might have absorbed water from the 
> atmosphere - though perhaps the paper towel prevented it!
> 
> Bea 
> 
> >As to the wooden vat: There are many ways of conserving waterlogged wood. 
> >Soaking it in Sugar, PEG or Melamin-resin or freeze-drying are just the 
> >best known. Every method has its own problems and advantages. Sugar and 
> >PEG leave the sample in constant danger of humidity, but it is at least 
> >theoretically reversible. Melamin-conservation as used in the 
> >Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz has great results, yields a 
> >strong and light sample that won´t change the color any further and is 
> >tolerant of changing air-conditions etc. but it is irreversible. In 
> >contrast to PEG it is invisible even under the microscope while PEG fills 
> >the vessels. PEG-samples are also quite heavy which makes it difficult to 
> >mount samples for restauration and presentation.
> >If waterlogged wood is just to be kept some years for later analysis it is 
> >best to use the same plastic-bag-method as for the soil-samples. A simple 
> >basin can be used to improvise a vacuum in the bag. It is possible to ad 
> >some fungicide, but it appears to be unnecessary. The problem is: 
> >Obviously the soil-chemistry and the species will also influence the 
> >result. I have seen wood-samples of ash from a bog that were in bad 
> >condition after 12 years and oak from a lake that were in great condition 
> >after 25 years...
> >Hope this helps.
> >Good Luck
> >Niels
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >> Greenwich Museum in England some years ago preserved a Roman wooden
> >> vat excavated in the 1980's.  They  soaked it in some liquid for some 
> >> months with the
> >> result was  it changed its appearance and is now  black.  I would have 
> >> thought there was
> >> a better way to preserve it - but then I am not a conservation expert.  I 
> >> feel it has so changed its appearance that over time it might be thought 
> >> that it was how it looked originally and could be confusing.
> >> 
> >> Beatrice Hopkinson
> >> 
> >> >Dear colleagues,
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >I am writing with a question relating to the long-term storage of
> >> >waterlogged deposits. A colleague here in Ireland, Christina Fredengren, 
> has
> >> >been excavating an important Late Mesolithic lakeside site (further
> >> >information available at www.discoveryprogramme.ie - see Lake Settlement
> >> >Project section). Many of the deposits at the site are waterlogged.
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >Christina took many soil samples during the excavation, and it now seems
> >> >that there are a number of samples that will not be examined in the near
> >> >future. A museum here in Ireland is interested in storing these unexamined
> >> >samples, possibly for analysis at some time in future decades.
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >I am looking for advice on current best practice for long-term storage of
> >> >waterlogged samples. Would it be better to store the soil samples
> >> >'untouched', or can we sieve them to reduce their mass? Any advice on the
> >> >addition of water/alcohol/other materials to enable preservation of the
> >> >waterlogged remains would also be appreciated.
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >Best wishes,
> >> >
> >> >Meriel McClatchie.
> >> >
> >> 
> >
> >-- 
> >Niels Bleicher
> >Textorstr. 97
> >60596 Frankfurt
> >Tel.: 069 66124984
> >mobil: 0177-2349074
> 

-- 
Niels Bleicher
Textorstr. 97
60596 Frankfurt
Tel.: 069 66124984
mobil: 0177-2349074

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