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Guidelines for the Storage and Display of Archaeological Metalwork

These guidelines are intended for anyone involved in the storage and display of archaeological metals, including conservators, curators, archaeologists and museum assistants.

It includes an introduction to the reasons why metal objects require particular storage conditions, with detail on the specific problems faced by each metal, based on the latest research. When planning new storage or displays this guide will help to design and implement appropriate environmental controls. It is advisable to consult a conservator in the early stages of planning to address the specific needs of particular objects.


How to get the most out of this guide
Section 1: Introduction
1.1 What is archaeological metalwork?
1.2 What is corrosion?
1.3 Consequences of corrosion for objects
1.4 Preventing and managing active corrosion
     1.4.1 Stopping or controlling corrosion?
     1.4.2 Taking a proactive approach
Section 2: Guidelines for storage and display of metalwork
2.1 Iron
     2.1.1 Identifying iron
     2.1.2 Signs of active corrosion
     2.1.3 Causes of active corrosion
     2.1.4 Storage and display conditions
2.2 Copper alloys
     2.2.1 Identifying copper alloys
     2.2.2 Signs of active corrosion
     2.2.3 Causes of active corrosion
     2.2.4 Storage and display conditions
2.3 Lead and its alloys
     2.3.1 Identifying lead and its alloys
     2.3.2 Signs of active corrosion
     2.3.3 Causes of active corrosion
     2.3.4 Storage and display conditions
2.4 Silver, gold and their alloys
     2.4.1 Identifying silver
     2.4.2 Signs of silver corrosion
     2.4.3 Causes of active corrosion
     2.4.4 Storage and display conditions
2.5 Other metals
     2.5.1 Aluminium
     2.5.2 Zinc
     2.5.3 Tin
     2.5.4 Nickel and chromium
     2.5.5 Stainless steels
     2.5.6 Other coatings
Section 3:Achieving standards for storage and display
3.1 Planning a display
3.2 Achieving good storage
     3.2.1 Packaging
     3.2.2 RH control in storage
     3.2.3 Pollutants in storage
3.3 Methods for controlling humidity
     3.3.1 Desiccation and buffering
     3.3.2 Passive control methods
     3.3.3 Active control methods
3.4 Methods for controlling pollutants
     3.4.1 External pollutants
     3.4.2 Internal pollutants
     3.4.3 Using sorbents and barriers
     3.4.4 Reducing pollutant concentration
3.5 Environmental monitoring
     3.5.1 Monitoring relative humidity
     3.5.2 Monitoring pollutants
     3.5.3 MEMORI reader and sensors

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed


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