Conservation and restoration techniques applied in two Australian maritime archaeological projects

Perform investigations and gather information from secondary sources to compare conservation and restoration techniques applied in two Australian maritime archaeological projects



Stage: Endeavour Cannons: Vernon Anchors:
Physical Treatment
  • Hammers used to remove hard coral from cannon surfaces.
  • Core drilling of cannons’ bores.
  • Iron surfaces blasted with copper slag, which removed outer corrosion and the remains of protective paint, then garnet polished.
Electrolytic Treatment
  • Electrolysis in 2% NaOH solution for many weeks.
  • Baths changed regularly.
  • Continued until chloride concentration levelled out at approximately 20 ppm.
  • Electrolysis not used because:
    • Would cause damage to timber stocks
    • Was not necessary
Final Treatment
  • Immersed in molten microcrystalline wax for five days (reversible).
  • Iron treated with zinc epoxy paint.
  • Timber stocks saturated with zinc napthenate solution.
Display
  • One cannon displayed indoors at Australian National Maritime Museum.
  • Protected from moisture and harsh light.
  • Displayed outdoors at Australian National Maritime Museum.
  • Exposed to elements.
  • Rest on aluminium mesh, which:
    • Allows water to drain away.
    • Has a higher oxidation potential than iron.
Monitoring
  • Because the artefact is not exposed to any potentially harmful elements, monitoring is not particularly important.
  • Regularly inspected for deterioration.
  • Hosed with freshwater on a regular basis to reduce salt build-up.