Testing the effectiveness of protocols for removal of common conservation treatments for radiocarbon dating

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dc.contributor.author Brock, Fiona
dc.contributor.author Dee, Michael
dc.contributor.author Hughes, Andrew
dc.contributor.author Snoeck, Christophe
dc.contributor.author Staff, Richard
dc.contributor.author Ramsey, Christopher B.
dc.date.accessioned 2017-08-24T10:27:05Z
dc.date.available 2017-08-24T10:27:05Z
dc.date.issued 2017-08-09
dc.identifier.citation Brock F, Dee M, Hughes A, et al., (2018) Testing the effectiveness of protocols for removal of common conservation treatments for radiocarbon dating. Radiocarbon, Volume 60, Issue 1, February 2018, pp. 35-50 en_UK
dc.identifier.uri https://doi.org/10.1017/RDC.2017.68
dc.identifier.uri http://dspace.lib.cranfield.ac.uk/handle/1826/12373
dc.description.abstract To achieve a reliable radiocarbon date for an object, any contamination that may be of a different age must be removed prior to dating. Samples that have been conserved with treatments such as adhesives, varnishes or consolidants can pose a particular challenge to radiocarbon dating. At the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (ORAU), common examples of such substances encountered include shellac, the acrylic polymers Paraloid B-67 and B-72, and vinyl acetate-derived polymers (e.g. ‘PVA’). Here, a non-carbon containing absorbent substrate called Chromosorb® was deliberately contaminated with a range of varieties or brands of these conservation treatments, as well as two cellulose nitrate lacquers. A selection of chemical pretreatments was tested for their efficiency at removing them. While the varieties of shellac and Paraloid tested were completely removed with some treatments (water/methanol and acetone/methanol/chloroform sequential washes, respectively), no method was found that was capable of completely removing any of the vinyl acetate-derived materials or the cellulose nitrate lacquers. While Chromosorb is not an exact analogue of archaeological wood or bone, for example, this study suggests that it may be possible to remove aged shellac and Paraloid from archaeological specimens with standard organic-solvent-acid-base-acid pretreatments, but it may be significantly more difficult to remove vinyl acetate-derived polymers and cellulose nitrate lacquers sufficiently to provide reliable radiocarbon dates. The four categories of conservation treatment studied demonstrate characteristic FTIR spectra, while highlighting subtle chemical and molecular differences between different varieties of shellac, Paraloid and cellulose nitrate lacquers, and significant differences between the vinyl acetate derivatives. en_UK
dc.publisher University of Arizona / Cambridge University Press en_UK
dc.rights Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
dc.title Testing the effectiveness of protocols for removal of common conservation treatments for radiocarbon dating en_UK
dc.type Article en_UK


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