Analytical Methods for Assessing Preservation in Waterlogged Archaeological Wood: Their Importance for Site Management Decisions

Author(s): Kirsty E High, K Penkman

Understanding and quantifying preservation of organic archaeological materials has become increasingly important as wet or waterlogged sites are put at risk from human-driven alterations, such as land drainage, urbanisation, and climate change. Although a wide range of analytical methods can be applied to assess the state of preservation of an archaeological object, determining which of these is most appropriate can be challenging. Within the budgets and deadlines dictated by the project design, an assessment must provide useful information that aids site management and conservation decisions. This review aims to summarise the most commonly reported methods suitable for the analysis of archaeological wood, offering an overview of the information obtained by each. Methods are evaluated in terms of the information gained weighed up against their cost, logistical considerations and time investments. Recommendations are provided to aid with the design of preservation assessment schemes.

Report Number:
Research Report
Burial Environments Conservation Environmental Monitoring Methological Research Wood


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