Recently, one of our dedicated volunteers, Ed Coward, discovered something pretty fascinating. Ed comes in every Thursday to help out with artifact conservation, and he typically spends the day airscribing. This is one of our dirtiest jobs, but somehow Ed manages to stay pretty clean throughout the process as you can see in the photo.
Airscribing is the process of removing concretion (build up of sand, shells, and sediment) from artifacts that have been recovered by the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP).
Ed is currently working on an artifact (12S 200) from the Storm Wreck that was recovered in 2012. To get a better idea of what is inside of a concretion, we always take X-rays. These can help the conservators know where to start working, or help them find small, fragile artifacts within the concretion.
When we first looked at the X-ray image for 12S 200, we knew right away that three things were present: A hammer, nails, and a padlock.
Because the hammer and padlock were very fragile, our Assistant Archaeological Conservator, Andrew Thomson, removed those items before Ed began work on the concretion. So what we’re focused on are the nails.
You’re probably thinking “What in the world could be fascinating about nails?” right?
Well, we were too! Continue reading