The Archaeological Role of Conservation in Maritime Archaeology

Donny L. Hamilton and C. Wayne Smith

in The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195375176
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Archaeological Role of Conservation in Maritime Archaeology

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  • Archaeology
  • Environmental Archaeology


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Maritime archaeology is the one field of archaeology that is completely tied to the conservation laboratory. This article gives information about the archaeological role of the conservation laboratory. It presents four conservation case studies where the archaeological role of the conservation laboratory is emphasized. It also addresses some of the applied conservation techniques. Conservation of encrusted artifacts from shipwrecks or any marine site provides archaeological data that needs to be recorded, conserved, properly curated, and displayed. If this is not done, then the archaeological project will suffer. All artifacts are conserved in the conservation laboratory. The concept of reversibility is an important factor in any conservation procedure, for artifacts often have to be retreated. The processes for advancement of archaeology as well as conservation are being undertaken in the conservation laboratory.

Keywords: conservation; conservatory laboratory; archaeological project; reversibility; conservation procedure; re-treatment

Article.  7457 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Environmental Archaeology

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