About Conservation Treatment



Metal Artifacts

About the Conservation Treatment of Metal Artifacts

The majority of metal heritages are unearthed from the ground, etc., making them vulnerable to diverse types of damage depending on their burial environment and materials. Unearthed metal Artifacts are highly susceptible to damage due to environmental changes and corrosive factors in the atmosphere. Thus, conservation treatment is very important in preventing further damage to unearthed heritages and in restoring their original form. Also, based on data obtained from the process of conservation treatment, diverse studies on ancient metals can be conducted.

Conservation Treatment Process of Copper-Alloy Artifacts

1. Pre-treatment Survey and Analysis
  • Document and take photos of surveys of materials, size, condition, and shape.
  • Non-destructive survey: Survey the structures and corrosion levels that cannot be identified visually (X-ray, CT, etc.).
  • Analysis:Analyze the composition materials and the corrosive compounds of artifacts(XRF, XRD etc.).
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2. Cleaning
  • Physical methods: Use small tools to remove soil and corroded compounds from the surface of artifacts.
  • Chemical methods: Use formic acid, EDTA, etc. selectively to remove corroded substances.
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3. Stabilization Treatment (Corrosion-inhibition)
  • Benzotriazole (B.T.A) method: Form a Cu-B.T.A film on a artifact’s surface to constrain corrosion.
  • Dip a relic in B.T.A. 3% (In ethyl alcohol) solution to penetrate it.
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4. Consolidation
  • Block corrosive factors such as oxygen and moisture in the air, thus consolidating the material of the artifacts.
  • Dip a artifact in acrylic resin, by using a impregnation equipment.
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5. Adhesion and Restoration
  • Attach the damaged or broken pieces and recovery the original after restoring the lost parts.
  • Use acrylic resins and epoxy resins according to the materials of artifacts.
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6. Coloring
  • Match the color of a joined and restored part with that of the artifact’s surface.
  • Coloring should be conducted in such a way that the color can only be distinguished from the artifact surface’s color within 30㎝ of the artifact, whereas it should be indistinguishable at 1m or more from the artifact.
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7. After treatment Documentation
  • Document and take photographs of the treatment process and post-treatment status.
  • Packaging: Fix a artifact in polyethylene foam safely and package it together with materials such as silica gel that can remove moisture.
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Conservation Treatment Process of Iron Artifacts

1. Pre-treatment Survey and Analysis
  • Document and take photos of surveys of materials, sizes, condition, and shape.
  • Non-destructive survey: Survey structures and corrosion levels that cannot be identified visually (X-ray, CT, etc.).
  • Analysis: Analyze the composition materials and the corrosive compounds of artifacts(XRF, XRD etc.).
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2. Removal of soil (cleaning)
  • Physical methods: Use small tools and abrasive equipment to remove soil and corroded compounds from the surface of artifacts.
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3. Stabilization Treatment (Desalting)
  • Use alkaline solutions such as NaOH and sodium sesquicarbonate to remove chlorine ion.
  • Remove Cl ion by using constant-temperature water bath.
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4. Consolidation
  • Block corrosive factors such as oxygen and moisture in the air, thus consolidating the material of artifacts.
  • Dip a artifact in acrylic resin, by using a impregnation equipment.
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5. Adhesion and Restoration
  • Attach the damaged or broken pieces and recovery the original after restoring the lost parts.
  • Use acrylic resins and epoxy resins according to the materials of artifacts.
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6. Coloring
  • Match the color of a joined and restored part with that of the artifact’s surface.
  • Coloring should be conducted in such a way that the color can only be distinguished from the artifact surface’s color within 30㎝ of the artifact, whereas it should be indistinguishable at 1m or more from the artifact.
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7. After treatment Documentation
  • Document and take photographs of the treatment process and post-treatment status.
  • Packaging: Fix a artifact in polyethylene foam safely and package it together with materials such as silica gel that can remove moisture.
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Ceramics and Glass Artifacts

About Conservation Treatment of Ceramics and Glass Artifacts

Ceramics, earthenware, roof tiles, and glass artifacts can resist chemical damage but are vulnerable to physical damage caused by incorrect conservation treatment and mismanagement. Thus, conservation treatment focuses on maintaining the original forms in consideration of conservation material stability, but earthenware have arch