Dear Bea , Dear Niels

We also can confirm your observation on salt preserved Material. Cheapest
and best preservation for organic materials from salt mines is no
conservation. At Dürrnberg/Hallein, Austria I examined some thousands of
wooden objects and even small seeds and fruit remains from faeces, which
stay well preserved only because of the high content of salt. Even after
short a time of washing or watering the objects they still contain salt. It
needs a longer time in the rain/under the shower to remove it completely. So
a moderate humidity shouldn’t be a problem.
At the moment it is tried to store some timbers from a wet preservation site
in not used mine shafts of the modern salt mine to avert the decay of the
wood. But of course there are no long term observations until know. And for
sure not everywhere a salt mine is available : )  

One small comment concerning the so called  “Kienspäne”. I was very
surprised when I started the wood analysis on the Dürrnberg material several
years ago. In opposite to the etymological origin of the word Kienspäne
which Niels already described (Kienspäne = lightning tapers from Pinus),
none of the ancient lightning tapers had been made from Pinus. The Iron age
people used Abies alba and Picea abies/Larix decidua over there. Pinus is
not very common in the local vegetation.

Best wishes

Nicole Boenke M.A.
Archäologische&Archäobotanische Untersuchungen
Herawies 42
A-6723 Blons

0043 (0)5553 21426
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-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: The archaeobotany mailing list [mailto:[log in to unmask]] Im
Auftrag von Beatrice Hopkinson
Gesendet: Samstag, 21. Juli 2007 20:57
An: [log in to unmask]
Betreff: Re: TBA Hallstatt


     Thank you for refreshing my memory about 'pinus' wood.  It does have 
splintery look to it too.  Of course I figured it was the salt that is 
preserving it
but wanted an experts thoughts.  I'm a little biased about salt as you 
may have
guessed :)

     Yes I recall the rucksack and the hat!  And a colleague of mine used 
records at Hallstatt to dye and weave some fabric to duplicate remains of 
 found on the handle of a pick (?).  It turned out to be a green and 
black tartan, a
sample of which she gave me.  I was somewhat startled to find someone 
else had 
done this - but the tartan is red!  Do you know anything of that?  The 
tourist aspect at Hallstatt has changed much since I was there in 1979!


>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 ...
>> 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
>> >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
>> >the vessels. PEG-samples are also quite heavy which makes it difficult
>> >mount samples for restauration and presentation.
>> >If waterlogged wood is just to be kept some years for later analysis it
>> >best to use the same plastic-bag-method as for the soil-samples. A
>> >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
>> >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.

>> >> feel it has so changed its appearance that over time it might be
>> >> 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 
>> has
>> >> >been excavating an important Late Mesolithic lakeside site (further
>> >> >information available at - see Lake
>> >> >Project section). Many of the deposits at the site are waterlogged.
>> >> >
>> >> >
>> >> >
>> >> >Christina took many soil samples during the excavation, and it now
>> >> >that there are a number of samples that will not be examined in the
>> >> >future. A museum here in Ireland is interested in storing these 
>> >> >samples, possibly for analysis at some time in future decades.
>> >> >
>> >> >
>> >> >
>> >> >I am looking for advice on current best practice for long-term
>> >> >waterlogged samples. Would it be better to store the soil samples
>> >> >'untouched', or can we sieve them to reduce their mass? Any advice on

>> >> >addition of water/alcohol/other materials to enable preservation of
>> >> >waterlogged remains would also be appreciated.
>> >> >
>> >> >
>> >> >
>> >> >Best wishes,
>> >> >
>> >> >Meriel McClatchie.
>> >> >
>> >> 
>> >
>> >-- 
>> >Niels Bleicher
>> >Textorstr. 97
>> >60596 Frankfurt
>> >Tel.: 069 66124984
>> >mobil: 0177-2349074