Artefacts recovered from the Tudor warship, the Mary Rose, have spent over 400 years in an anaerobic waterlogged environment. Although apparently sound, the waterlogged archaeological wood has been severely weakened and degraded by physical, chemical and biological processes to form a fascinating (for the Physicist) heterogeneous porous media. On exposure to air the wood can shrink, crack and warp. Thus, this material must be conserved, usually through the impregnation of water soluble polymers, if it is to be made available for subsequent study and display. I will describe the characterisation of the extent of degradation, and the processes necessary for the satisfactory conservation, of waterlogged archaeological wood.
This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..