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Analyses of Sulfur and Iron in Waterlogged Archaeological Wood: The Case of Polyethylene-Glycol-Treated Yenikapı 12 Shipwreck

Kılıç, Aslı Gökçe, Kılıç, Namık, Arnold, Donna C. (2023) Analyses of Sulfur and Iron in Waterlogged Archaeological Wood: The Case of Polyethylene-Glycol-Treated Yenikapı 12 Shipwreck. Forests, 14 (3). Article Number 530. ISSN 1999-4907. (doi:10.3390/f14030530) (KAR id:100511)


The Yenikapı (YK) 12 shipwreck is 1 of 37 shipwrecks found at Yenikapı, Istanbul. This merchantman has been dated to AD 672–876 by radiocarbon analyses. The conservation of YK 12, which was assembled with iron nails, was completed with the pre-impregnation of polyethylene glycol (PEG) and using vacuum freeze-drying processes. However, after conservation, dust formation was observed on some wooden parts of the shipwreck during storage. In this study, iron–sulfur-related problems detected in the woods of YK 12 were evaluated. We analysed samples taken from YK 12 to study the sulfur and iron content in woods from oak (Quercus), walnut (Juglans), and hornbeam (Carpinus), representing taxa with different wood properties. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analyses, X-ray diffraction (XRD), and pH measurements were conducted on five samples. The results of these studies showed that the dust consisted of wood particles, PEG, and hydrated iron sulfates, such as FeSO4·4H2O and FeSO4·7H2O. Additionally, one sample included SiO2, whilst another exhibited a low pH value. These findings highlight the importance of optimum ambient conditions for the storage and display of these shipwrecks in order to prevent the irreversible degradation of YK 12 and other recovered shipwrecks.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3390/f14030530
Uncontrolled keywords: Waterlogged archaeological wood; Yenikapı shipwrecks; XRD; FTIR; pH; sulfur; iron
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Q Science > QD Chemistry
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Chemistry and Forensics
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2023 10:17 UTC
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2023 12:36 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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