Title

Wet-Sites Artifacts: Preservation and Exhibition

Presenter Information

Andrew Johnson

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom B/C/D

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

Archaeology, Preservation, Exhibition

Abstract

Over the last sixty years, archaeology has seen a rise in the discovery, excavation, and preservation of artifacts from wet sites, which differ greatly in composition to that of artifacts recovered from more common dry sites. Wet sites are unique as they are anaerobic. Oxygen is removed from the site through natural occurrences, this prevents bacteria and other agents of decay from taking hold on artifacts which would otherwise decay and vanish from the historical record. The result is a site rich in organic artifacts consisting of materials which are not found in other sites. Artifacts taken from wet sites pose difficulties and challenges that require a different tool set and conservation procedures in order to address the vulnerabilities of organic matter, which is as susceptible to decay. Artifacts taken from sites such as Hoko River and the Ozette Indian Village site, both in Washington State, as well as sites across the globe have shown the need for new techniques in how to deal with the various aspects with these artifacts. Because these artifacts have not been exposed to oxygen for such long periods of time, it is vital that, while excavating, handling, and preserving them, the artifacts continue to be in an environment deprived of oxygen, otherwise decay of these items will begin in earnest. In this poster, I will explore the techniques and practices in achieving the needs of artifacts in a wet site.

Poster Number

43

Faculty Mentor(s)

Hope Amason, Lynnn Bethke

Department/Program

Anthropology & Museum Studies

Additional Mentoring Department

Anthropology & Museum Studies

Additional Mentoring Department

Museum of Culture and Environment

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May 21st, 11:30 AM May 21st, 2:00 PM

Wet-Sites Artifacts: Preservation and Exhibition

SURC Ballroom B/C/D

Over the last sixty years, archaeology has seen a rise in the discovery, excavation, and preservation of artifacts from wet sites, which differ greatly in composition to that of artifacts recovered from more common dry sites. Wet sites are unique as they are anaerobic. Oxygen is removed from the site through natural occurrences, this prevents bacteria and other agents of decay from taking hold on artifacts which would otherwise decay and vanish from the historical record. The result is a site rich in organic artifacts consisting of materials which are not found in other sites. Artifacts taken from wet sites pose difficulties and challenges that require a different tool set and conservation procedures in order to address the vulnerabilities of organic matter, which is as susceptible to decay. Artifacts taken from sites such as Hoko River and the Ozette Indian Village site, both in Washington State, as well as sites across the globe have shown the need for new techniques in how to deal with the various aspects with these artifacts. Because these artifacts have not been exposed to oxygen for such long periods of time, it is vital that, while excavating, handling, and preserving them, the artifacts continue to be in an environment deprived of oxygen, otherwise decay of these items will begin in earnest. In this poster, I will explore the techniques and practices in achieving the needs of artifacts in a wet site.