Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Wood Science and Forest Products".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 October 2021) | Viewed by 55991

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Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Wood Science and Thermal Techniques, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Poznań, Poland
Interests: wood structure; wood composition; wood characterisation; wood conservation; wood preservation; waterlogged archaeological wood; structure–function relationships; wood decay; organosilicons in wood conservation; wood modification
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Guest Editor
Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), Ås, Norway
Interests: wood modification; wood-water relations; wood protection; wood decay; dimensional stabilisation; life cycle assessment; carbon flow analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nowadays, the majority of research concentrates on applied science that regards issues crucial from the socio-economical perspective, such as new functional materials and super-efficient technologies, clean energy, improvement of human health or tackling climate change. However, we cannot forget about our culture and history which define our humanity. Wooden cultural heritage is an integral part of it. We are obliged to protect it, save from oblivion and preserve it for future generations.

This Special Issue will present the new methods for conservation of historical wooden artefacts, reliable modern techniques for characterisation of the wood structure, properties and degree of degradation, and discuss problems and doubts related to all aspects of conservation and re-conservation of wooden cultural heritage. We highly encourage contributions to this Special Issue from all relevant fields, in the form of both original and review articles.

Dr. Magdalena Broda
Prof. Dr. Callum A. S. Hill
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • waterlogged wood
  • archaeological wood
  • wood conservation
  • wooden artefacts
  • wood degradation
  • wood structure
  • historical wood

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

13 pages, 8957 KiB  
Article
Structural Monitoring of a Large Archaeological Wooden Structure in Real Time, Post PEG Treatment
by Hugh Collett, Florian Bouville, Finn Giuliani and Eleanor Schofield
Forests 2021, 12(12), 1788; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12121788 - 16 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2824
Abstract
Large archaeological wooden structures are potentially at risk of structural failure through deformation and cracking over time if they are left untreated and their structural health is not maintained. This could be in part due to, for example, the shrinkage of waterlogged wood [...] Read more.
Large archaeological wooden structures are potentially at risk of structural failure through deformation and cracking over time if they are left untreated and their structural health is not maintained. This could be in part due to, for example, the shrinkage of waterlogged wood as it dries, or time-dependent creep processes. These dimensional changes are accompanied by associated stresses. However, there are few studies analysing the movement of large wooden structures in real time as they dry, particularly after their conservation treatment. This paper follows the structural monitoring of the Mary Rose from after the conservation treatment, where it was sprayed with polyethylene glycol, through to the ship’s air-drying process and beyond to assess the effects that drying has had on the displacement of the timbers. A laser-based target system was used to collect displacement data between 2013 and 2020 and the data showed a significant slowing of displacement as the drying reached an equilibrium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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11 pages, 2643 KiB  
Article
Numerical Modelling of Moisture Loss during Controlled Drying of Marine Archaeological Wood
by Gabriel Lipkowitz, Karoline Sofie Hennum, Eleonora Piva and Eleanor Schofield
Forests 2021, 12(12), 1662; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12121662 - 30 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2263
Abstract
If left to dry uncontrollably following excavation, marine archaeological wood suffers significant and irreparable damage. Conservation treatments are required to consolidate degraded wood and to remove residual water. Drying must be controlled to eliminate erratic and heterogeneous water removal. Monitoring and understanding the [...] Read more.
If left to dry uncontrollably following excavation, marine archaeological wood suffers significant and irreparable damage. Conservation treatments are required to consolidate degraded wood and to remove residual water. Drying must be controlled to eliminate erratic and heterogeneous water removal. Monitoring and understanding the drying process progression is invaluable information to garner real-time knowledge to correlate with chemical and physical material properties, and to develop future conservation strategies. Here, polyethylene glycol (PEG) consolidated marine archaeological wood was periodically sampled during drying to determine the moisture content as a function of location, time, and sample depth. The heterogeneous nature of the material leads to significant noise across spatial and temporal measurements, making it challenging to elucidate meaningful conclusions from visual observation of the raw data. Therefore, the spatiotemporal data was computationally analysed to produce a representative model of the ship’s drying, illustrated by a dynamic simulation. From this we can quantitatively predict the drying rate, determine the depth-dependence of drying, and estimate the resulting equilibrium moisture content. This is the first time such simulations have been carried out on this material and conservation process, demonstrating the power of applying numerical modelling to further our understanding of complex heritage data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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8 pages, 1681 KiB  
Article
Effect of Polyethylene Glycol Treatment on Acetic Acid Emissions from Wood
by Sarah Hunt, Josep Grau-Bove, Eleanor Schofield and Simon Gaisford
Forests 2021, 12(12), 1629; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12121629 - 25 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2122
Abstract
Acetic acid is known to be emitted from sound wood and can accelerate damage to heritage materials, particularly metals. However, few studies have investigated the extent of acetic acid emissions from archaeological wood. This research utilised Solid-Phase-Micro-Extraction (SPME) GC–MS and lead coupon corrosion [...] Read more.
Acetic acid is known to be emitted from sound wood and can accelerate damage to heritage materials, particularly metals. However, few studies have investigated the extent of acetic acid emissions from archaeological wood. This research utilised Solid-Phase-Micro-Extraction (SPME) GC–MS and lead coupon corrosion to identify volatile emissions from polyethylene glycol (PEG)-treated archaeological wood from the Mary Rose collection and assess if they could cause accelerated damage. In addition, the effect of PEG treatment on acetic acid emissions was investigated using sound wood samples. For sound wood, the PEG treatment acted as a barrier to acetic acid emissions, with higher-molecular-weight PEGs preventing more emissions. Archaeological wood, despite its age and high-molecular-weight PEG treatment, still emitted detectable concentrations of acetic acid. Moreover, they emitted a wider array of compounds compared to sound wood, including carbon disulphide. Like sound wood, when the archaeological wood samples were in a sealed environment with lead coupons, they caused accelerated corrosion to lead. This evidences that archaeological wood can emit high enough concentrations of volatile compounds to cause damage and further investigation should be performed to evaluate if this can occur inside museum display cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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12 pages, 3184 KiB  
Article
Chemical Characterization of Waterlogged Charred Wood: The Case of a Medieval Shipwreck
by Eirini Mitsi, Stamatis Boyatzis and Anastasia Pournou
Forests 2021, 12(11), 1594; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12111594 - 19 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1906
Abstract
In 2008, a medieval wooden shipwreck was discovered at the port of Rhodes, Greece. The shipwreck was party burned, presenting a challenge for conservators, as uncharred, semi-charred and charred waterlogged wood were often encountered on the same piece of timber. In seeking the [...] Read more.
In 2008, a medieval wooden shipwreck was discovered at the port of Rhodes, Greece. The shipwreck was party burned, presenting a challenge for conservators, as uncharred, semi-charred and charred waterlogged wood were often encountered on the same piece of timber. In seeking the most appropriate conservation method for this unusual material, its chemical characterization was considered necessary. This study examined the chemistry of the three dominant wood conditions found in the wreck. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction analysis were implemented in comparison to reference samples. Energy dispersive analysis was also used for assessing the inorganic composition of each condition. Moreover, for charred and semi-charred wood, proximate analysis was undertaken. Results obtained regarding the organic moieties of the waterlogged archaeological material, demonstrated that charred samples were chemically comparable to charcoals, semi-charred material showed similarity to thermally modified wood, whereas uncharred waterlogged wood was proven to have an analogous chemistry to biodeteriorated wood. Elemental analysis results also diversified among the three shipwreck’s conditions. Sulfur, iron, and oxygen decreased in charred areas, whereas carbon increased. Proximate analysis showed that ash and fixed carbon content increased with charring, whereas volatile mater decreased. This work proved major chemical differences among shipwreck timbers’ conditions owing to different degree of charring. These are anticipated to influence not only conservation methods’ efficacy, but also the post-treatment behavior of the material. Further investigation is needed for correlating the chemistry of the archaeological material to its physical properties in order to contribute to practical aspects of conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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23 pages, 7753 KiB  
Article
Forest Wood through the Eyes of a Cultural Conservator
by Angeliki Zisi
Forests 2021, 12(8), 1001; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12081001 - 28 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3210
Abstract
If prehistoric and historical time were placed into the time span of the existence of our universe, then the act of archaeology could be defined as the act of digging up what was only buried yesterday. So, conservation is about preserving a moment [...] Read more.
If prehistoric and historical time were placed into the time span of the existence of our universe, then the act of archaeology could be defined as the act of digging up what was only buried yesterday. So, conservation is about preserving a moment that has just become past time, yet significant. It is a moment of human creativity and ingenuity. It is not strange that forest wood has become the material to convey such moments. Forest wood is a living, everlasting source growing without human intervention, within reach, easy to use and shape thinking both great and small. It does not have to be a wooden ship; it can be a mere piece of charcoal. For it is what surrounded humans in the past which archaeologists seek and use to weave human history, and what conservators bring back to context by reviving it. This work presents forest wood as an artefact and its preservation challenges as such. It touches on its natural degradation processes through burial, compromised properties and eventual conservation. Both dry and waterlogged wood are included. The overarching aim of this paper is to pay tribute, preserve and inspire the long-standing, open dialog and fruitful collaboration between cultural conservators and forest and wood scientists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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28 pages, 10451 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Soda Lignin from Wheat Straw/Sarkanda Grass as a Potential Future Consolidant for Archaeological Wood
by Jeannette J. Łucejko, Anne de Lamotte, Fabrizio Andriulo, Hartmut Kutzke, Stephen Harding, Mary Phillips-Jones, Francesca Modugno, Ted M. Slaghek, Richard J. A. Gosselink and Susan Braovac
Forests 2021, 12(7), 911; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12070911 - 13 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2479
Abstract
This work is part of a larger study, which aims to use soda lignin from straw as the starting point for a non-aqueous consolidant for highly degraded archaeological wood from the Oseberg collection. This wood was treated with alum salts in the early [...] Read more.
This work is part of a larger study, which aims to use soda lignin from straw as the starting point for a non-aqueous consolidant for highly degraded archaeological wood from the Oseberg collection. This wood was treated with alum salts in the early 1900s, is actively degrading and exists in varying states of preservation. Non-aqueous consolidants are an option to stabilize this wood mechanically in cases where it is too deteriorated to undergo aqueous-based retreatments, for example using polyethylene glycol. The aim of this study was to compare the extent of penetration of two soda lignin preparations in low- to medium-degraded archaeological pine. The soda lignins were dissolved in ethyl acetate and had two molecular weight groups: P1000 (molecular weight Mw of~3 kDa) and the ethyl acetate fraction FB01 (Mw of ~1 kDa). Penetration after immersion was evaluated by infrared spectroscopy and analytical pyrolysis. Treated specimens were also evaluated using weight and dimensional change and scanning electron microscopy. Both lignins penetrated into sample cores, but P1000 did not penetrate as well as FB01. This may be due to differences in their molecular weights, but also differences in polarity due to the presence of different functional groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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28 pages, 6339 KiB  
Article
A Modelling Approach for the Assessment of Climate Change Impact on the Fungal Colonization of Historic Timber Structures
by Petros Choidis, Dimitrios Kraniotis, Ilari Lehtonen and Bente Hellum
Forests 2021, 12(7), 819; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12070819 (registering DOI) - 22 Jun 2021
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3301
Abstract
Climate change is anticipated to affect the degradation of the building materials in cultural heritage sites and buildings. For the aim of taking the necessary preventive measures, studies need to be carried out with the utmost possible precision regarding the building materials of [...] Read more.
Climate change is anticipated to affect the degradation of the building materials in cultural heritage sites and buildings. For the aim of taking the necessary preventive measures, studies need to be carried out with the utmost possible precision regarding the building materials of each monument and the microclimate to which they are exposed. Within the present study, a methodology to investigate the mold risk of timber buildings is presented and applied in two historic constructions. The two case studies are located in Vestfold, Norway. Proper material properties are selected for the building elements by leveraging material properties from existing databases, measurements, and simulations of the hygrothermal performance of selected building components. Data from the REMO2015 driven by the global model MPI-ESM-LR are used in order to account for past, present, and future climate conditions. In addition, climate data from ERA5 reanalysis are used in order to assess the accuracy the MPI-ES-LR_REMO2015 model results. Whole building hygrothermal simulations are employed to calculate the temperature and the relative humidity on the timber surfaces. The transient hygrothermal condition and certain characteristics of the timber surfaces are used as inputs in the updated VTT mold model in order to predict the mold risk of certain building elements. Results show a significant increase of the mold risk of the untreated timber surfaces due to climate change. The treated surfaces have no mold risk at all. It is also observed that the most significant increase of the mold risk occurs in the north-oriented and the horizontal surfaces. It is underlined that the mold risk of the timber elements is overestimated by the MPI-ES-LR_REMO2015 model compared to ERA5 reanalysis. The importance of considering the surface temperature and humidity, and not the atmospheric temperature and humidity as boundary conditions in the mold growth model is also investigated and highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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9 pages, 1151 KiB  
Article
Chemical Properties and Microbial Analysis of Waterlogged Archaeological Wood from the Nanhai No. 1 Shipwreck
by Yeqing Han, Jing Du, Xinduo Huang, Kaixuan Ma, Yu Wang, Peifeng Guo, Naisheng Li, Zhiguo Zhang and Jiao Pan
Forests 2021, 12(5), 587; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050587 - 8 May 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2211
Abstract
The Nanhai No. 1 was a wooden merchant ship of the Southern Song Dynasty, which wrecked and sank in the South China Sea, Yangjiang City, Guangdong Province, China. The Nanhai No. 1 shipwreck was salvaged as a whole in 2007 and began to [...] Read more.
The Nanhai No. 1 was a wooden merchant ship of the Southern Song Dynasty, which wrecked and sank in the South China Sea, Yangjiang City, Guangdong Province, China. The Nanhai No. 1 shipwreck was salvaged as a whole in 2007 and began to be excavated in 2013. During the archaeology excavation, some of the hull wood fell off the hull. These waterlogged archaeological woods (WAW) were immersed in the buffer containing EDTA-2Na and isothiazolinone K100 for moisture stabilization, preliminary desalination, and microbial inhibition. We evaluated the properties of these WAW through testing the chemical components (including lignin, holocellulose, and ash content) of the wood, and monitoring the iron element content, anion and cation content in the buffer. At the same time, the microbial composition in the desalination buffer was also detected. The results showed that the holocellulose content in these WAW were much lower than in fresh wood. The ash content in these WAW decreased after desalination treatment. The iron element content, anion and cation content in the buffer were high and kept at a certain level after desalination treatment. At the same time, the problem of biodegradation in the buffer should be paid attention to. The comprehensive protection of WAW requires to combine wood properties and microbial problems. This study provides a reference for the protection of WAW from the Nanhai No. 1 shipwreck and other similar historical wood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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11 pages, 4742 KiB  
Article
Restoration of a XVII Century’s predella reliquary: From Physico-Chemical Characterization to the Conservation Process
by Giuseppina Fiore Bettina, Belinda Giambra, Giuseppe Cavallaro, Giuseppe Lazzara, Bartolomeo Megna, Ramil Fakhrullin, Farida Akhatova and Rawil Fakhrullin
Forests 2021, 12(3), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030345 - 15 Mar 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2669
Abstract
We report on the restoration of a XVII century’s predella reliquary, which is a part of a larger setup that includes a wall reliquary and a wooden crucified Christ, both belonging to the church of “Madre Maria SS. Assunta”, in Polizzi Generosa, [...] Read more.
We report on the restoration of a XVII century’s predella reliquary, which is a part of a larger setup that includes a wall reliquary and a wooden crucified Christ, both belonging to the church of “Madre Maria SS. Assunta”, in Polizzi Generosa, Sicily, Italy. The historical/artistic and paleographic research was flanked successfully by the scientific objective characterization of the materials. The scientific approach was relevant in the definition of the steps for the restoration of the artefact. The optical microscopy was used for the identification of the wood species. Electron microscopy and elemental mapping by energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) was successful in the identification of the layered structure for the gilded surface. The hyperspectral imaging method was successfully employed for an objective chemical mapping of the surface composition. We proved that the scientific approach is necessary for a critical and objective evaluation of the conservation state and it is a necessary step toward awareness of the historical, liturgical, spiritual and artistic value. In the second part of this work, we briefly describe the conservation protocol and the use of a weak nanocomposite glue. In particular, a sustainable approach was considered and therefore mixtures of a biopolymer from natural resources, such as funori from algae, and naturally occurring halloysite nanotubes were considered. Tensile tests provided the best composition for this green nanocomposite glue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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16 pages, 5087 KiB  
Article
Interactions between Different Organosilicons and Archaeological Waterlogged Wood Evaluated by Infrared Spectroscopy
by Carmen-Mihaela Popescu and Magdalena Broda
Forests 2021, 12(3), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030268 - 26 Feb 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2886
Abstract
The goal of the study was to characterise chemical interactions between waterlogged archaeological wood and organosilicon compounds applied for its conservation to shed lights on the mechanism of wood dimensional stabilisation by the chemicals. Two alkoxysilanes (methyltrimethoxysilane and (3-mercaptopropyl) trimethoxysilane) and a siloxane [...] Read more.
The goal of the study was to characterise chemical interactions between waterlogged archaeological wood and organosilicon compounds applied for its conservation to shed lights on the mechanism of wood dimensional stabilisation by the chemicals. Two alkoxysilanes (methyltrimethoxysilane and (3-mercaptopropyl) trimethoxysilane) and a siloxane (1,3-bis(diethylamino)-3-propoxypropanol)-1,1,3,3-tetramethyldisiloxane) were selected for the research since they already have been proven to effectively stabilise waterlogged wood upon drying. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was used for structural characterisation of the degraded wood and evaluation of reactivity of the applied chemicals with polymers in the wooden cell wall. The results obtained clearly show much stronger interactions in the case of alkoxysilanes than the siloxane, suggesting a different mechanism of wood stabilisation by these compounds. The results of this study together with other data obtained in our previous research on stabilisation of waterlogged archaeological wood with organosilicon compounds allow the conclusion that the mechanism of waterlogged wood stabilisation by the used alkoxysilanes is based on bulking the cell wall by silane molecules and wood chemical modification, while in the case of the applied siloxane, it builds upon filling the cell lumina. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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13 pages, 5231 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Wooden Foundation Piles after 125 Years of Service
by Miha Humar, Angela Balzano, Davor Kržišnik and Boštjan Lesar
Forests 2021, 12(2), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12020143 - 26 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2744
Abstract
Buildings on piles have been constructed in Ljubljana since the Bronze Age. The piles were made of different types of wood. In the present study, piles that were erected about 125 years ago were investigated. Investors tend to renovate a building; therefore, the [...] Read more.
Buildings on piles have been constructed in Ljubljana since the Bronze Age. The piles were made of different types of wood. In the present study, piles that were erected about 125 years ago were investigated. Investors tend to renovate a building; therefore, the piles were analysed to assess the structural condition of the building. The building showed no signs of damage. To gain access to the piles, a 2 m thick layer of soil was removed. On-site, the following analyses were carried out: drilling resistance with a resistograph and a screw withdrawal test. Part of the piles was isolated and light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, infrared spectroscopy, dynamic vapour sorption, density analysis, and chemical analysis were performed. Microscopic analysis revealed that the piles were made from the wood of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). The results indicate that the wood was severely degraded, mainly by soft-rot fungi and bacteria, resulting in a significant deterioration of its mechanical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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13 pages, 3744 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Archaeological European White Elm (Ulmus laevis P.) and Black Poplar (Populus nigra L.)
by Amir Ghavidel, Reza Hosseinpourpia, Holger Militz, Viorica Vasilache and Ion Sandu
Forests 2020, 11(12), 1329; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121329 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2375
Abstract
The present study aims at characterization of freshly-cut and archaeological European white elm and poplar. The archaeological elm sample was buried at a depth of 8–10 m inside of soil with age approximation of ~1800–2000 years old, and the archaeological poplar sample was [...] Read more.
The present study aims at characterization of freshly-cut and archaeological European white elm and poplar. The archaeological elm sample was buried at a depth of 8–10 m inside of soil with age approximation of ~1800–2000 years old, and the archaeological poplar sample was a part of a boat in a freshwater lake or river with age estimation of ~1000–1200 years. Alteration in the chemical structure of the elm and poplar samples due to the ageing process were confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Both archaeological wood (AW) samples illustrated considerably lower cellulose crystallinity than the fresh samples as determined by X-ray diffraction. The sorption behavior of AW and fresh wood (FW) samples were evaluated by means of dynamic vapor sorption (DVS) analysis. Results exhibited a higher equilibrium moisture content (EMC) and sorption hysteresis values in archaeological elm and poplar as compared with the fresh samples. Higher hydrophilicity of the AW samples than the FW ones is attributed to their higher amorphous structure. The extensive degradation of AW samples were also confirmed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) micrographs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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Review

Jump to: Research

35 pages, 2236 KiB  
Review
Sustainability in Heritage Wood Conservation: Challenges and Directions for Future Research
by Zarah Walsh-Korb
Forests 2022, 13(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13010018 - 23 Dec 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4308
Abstract
Conserving the world’s cultural and natural heritage is considered a key contributor to achieving the targets set out in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, yet how much attention do we pay to the methods we use to conserve and protect this heritage? [...] Read more.
Conserving the world’s cultural and natural heritage is considered a key contributor to achieving the targets set out in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, yet how much attention do we pay to the methods we use to conserve and protect this heritage? With a specific focus on wooden objects of cultural heritage, this review discusses the current state-of-the-art in heritage conservation in terms of sustainability, sustainable alternatives to currently used consolidants, and new research directions that could lead to more sustainable consolidants in the future. Within each stage a thorough discussion of the synthesis mechanisms and/or extraction protocols, particularly for bio-based resources is provided, evaluating resource usage and environmental impact. This is intended to give the reader a better understanding of the overall sustainability of each different approach and better evaluate consolidant choices for a more sustainable approach. The challenges facing the development of sustainable consolidants and recent research that is likely to lead to highly sustainable new consolidant strategies in the future are also discussed. This review aims to contribute to the ongoing discussion of sustainable conservation and highlight the role that consolidants play in truly sustainable heritage conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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55 pages, 5529 KiB  
Review
Conservation of Waterlogged Wood—Past, Present and Future Perspectives
by Magdalena Broda and Callum A. S. Hill
Forests 2021, 12(9), 1193; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12091193 - 2 Sep 2021
Cited by 60 | Viewed by 12612
Abstract
This paper reviews the degradation, preservation and conservation of waterlogged archaeological wood. Degradation due to bacteria in anoxic and soft-rot fungi and bacteria in oxic waterlogged conditions is discussed with consideration of the effect on the chemical composition of wood, as well as [...] Read more.
This paper reviews the degradation, preservation and conservation of waterlogged archaeological wood. Degradation due to bacteria in anoxic and soft-rot fungi and bacteria in oxic waterlogged conditions is discussed with consideration of the effect on the chemical composition of wood, as well as the deposition of sulphur and iron within the structure. The effects on physical properties are also considered. The paper then discusses the role of consolidants in preserving waterlogged archaeological wood after it is excavated as well as issues to be considered when reburial is used as a means of preservation. The use of alum and polyethylene glycol (PEG) as consolidants is presented along with various case studies with particular emphasis on marine artefacts. The properties of consolidated wood are examined, especially with respect to the degradation of the wood post-conservation. Different consolidants are reviewed along with their use and properties. The merits and risks of reburial and in situ preservation are considered as an alternative to conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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21 pages, 5198 KiB  
Review
Gap-Fillers for Wooden Artefacts Exposed Outdoors—A Review
by Magdalena Broda, Paulina Kryg and Graham Alan Ormondroyd
Forests 2021, 12(5), 606; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050606 - 12 May 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3797
Abstract
Conservation of wooden artefacts that are exposed outdoors, mainly in open-air museums, is a very complex and difficult issue that aims to preserve both the integrity and aesthetics of valuable objects. Unceasingly subjected to several factors, such as alternating weather conditions and the [...] Read more.
Conservation of wooden artefacts that are exposed outdoors, mainly in open-air museums, is a very complex and difficult issue that aims to preserve both the integrity and aesthetics of valuable objects. Unceasingly subjected to several factors, such as alternating weather conditions and the activities of microorganisms, algae, and insects, they undergo continuous changes and inevitable deterioration. Their biological and physical degradation often results in the formation of gaps and cracks in the wooden tissue, which creates a need not only for wood consolidation, but also for using specialist materials to fill the holes and prevent further degradation of an object. To ensure effective protection for a wooden artefact, a filling material must both protect the wood against further degradation and adapt to changes in wood dimensions in response to humidity variations. A variety of substances, both organic and inorganic, have been used for conservation and gap filling in historic wooden objects over the years. The filling compounds typically consist of two components, of which one is a filler, and the second a binder. In the case of inorganic fillers, plaster has been traditionally used, while the most popular organic fillers were wood powder, wood shavings, and powdered cork. As with binders, mainly natural substances have been used, such as animal glues or waxes. Nowadays, however, due to the lower biodegradability and better physicochemical properties, synthetic materials are gaining popularity. This article discusses the types of filling compounds currently used for gap filling in wooden artefacts exposed outdoors, outlining their advantages and drawbacks, as well as future perspective compounds. It appears that particularly composite materials based on natural polymers deserve attention as promising filling materials due to their high elasticity, as well as similarity and good adhesion to the wooden surface. Their main shortcomings, such as susceptibility to biodegradation, could be eliminated by using some modern, bio-friendly preservatives, providing effective protection for historic wooden artefacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Wood: Structure, Properties and Conservation)
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