Affordable Access

Access to the full text

Atlas of Micromorphological Degradation of Archaeological Birch Bark

Authors
  • klügl, johanna
  • di pietro, giovanna
Publication Date
Sep 18, 2021
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/app11188721
OAI: oai:mdpi.com:/2076-3417/11/18/8721/
Source
MDPI
Keywords
Language
English
License
Green
External links

Abstract

In this paper we present an atlas of micromorphological degradation of archaeological birch bark for the first time. We analysed the morphology of 13 samples extracted from ice-logged, waterlogged and cave-retrieved objects dated from the Neolithic to the Middle Age by means of light microscopy (LM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). We then compared their morphology to that of a contemporary sample, both intact and decayed. In all samples, 13 morphological characteristics that can be associated with fungal, bacterial, chemical, mechanical and light degradation are defined and described, and example LM and TEM images are provided. This novel atlas provides conservator-restorers a much-needed tool to relate the macroscopic appearance to the microscopic structure of birch bark objects. The most important macroscopic features allowing estimation of the state of preservation at the cell level are colour changes, loss of pliability, presence of delamination and increased brittleness. Colour change and delamination can be connected to microscopic features, and microscopic analysis can trace whether they were caused by biotic, chemical or physical decay. However, increased brittleness cannot be connected to a specific microscopic feature.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times