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On the treatment of Pewter plates from the Wreck of La Belle, 1686

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  • Ships of Discovery

Abstract

The Ships of Discovery conservation laboratory at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History developed new conservation treatments for cleaning, chloride removal, and polishing pewter plates recovered from the wreck of La Belle (1686). Care was taken to preserve various stamps and markings on the plate surfaces. Specifications are given for the elemental composition of the pewter as well as settings for anodic stripping followed by cathodic polishing. Final polishing was accomplished using a corn starch/wheat flower media mixture.
... Archaeological excavations by the Texas Historical Commission (THC) of the 17th-century shipwreck La Belle (41MG86, hereafter LB) (Bruseth and Turner 2004;Bruseth, Borgens et al. 2017) and the associated temporary settlement of Fort Saint Louis (41VT4, hereafter FSL) (Bruseth, Durst et al. 2004) in present-day Texas provide an unprecedented opportunity to explore in detail the decisions a group of European settlers made while adapting to an unfamiliar setting in the New World (Fig. 1). These sites represent the first few years (1684-1688) of French settlement on the northwest coast of the Gulf of Mexico and preserve evidence for La Salle's famed attempt to colonize the mouth of the Mississippi River (Gilmore 1973(Gilmore , 1986Carlin and Keith 1997;Keith et al. 1997;Davis and Bruseth 2000;Weddle 2001;Carrell 2003;Durst 2009). ...
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Changing social and economic practices had an important role for human adaptive strategies in colonial contexts and sometimes had profound consequences for emerging societies. This study uses insights from stable-isotope analyses, as well as other historical and archaeological evidence, to investigate the social and economic roles of French animal husbandry as an adaptive strategy for the settlers taking part in La Salle’s famous expedition (1684–1688) to colonize the mouth of the Mississippi River. Stable carbon- and nitrogen-isotope analyses of pig bones and other faunal remains from the shipwreck, La Belle, and associated Fort Saint Louis on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico are used to evaluate specific historical accounts of colonists’ animal-husbandry practices and show that a large swine population was sustained primarily on meat from local hunting activities. In this context it is argued that, although the substantial efforts involved in raising pigs mainly on other animal products seemingly makes little economic sense, there are social explanations for what initially appears to be irrational behavior. This study provides an example of how stable-isotope analyses of animal-husbandry practices can contribute to understanding social processes through historical archaeology.
... The general belief that tin is not affected by corrosion, and on the other hand the general assumption that tin pest is the main degradation form of tin objects, has led to the fact that today many of the tin objects which are present in museums are in a certain state of decay. Detailed examination of several museum objects has, however, shown that they were not affected by tin pest but by a certain form of tin corrosion [5] [6] [7]. ...
Article
This paper focuses on the corrosion behaviour of tin objects stored in museums. A set of authentic objects was investigated using optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray detection (SEM-EDX). The goal existed in acquiring information on the appearance of the corroded surfaces and the chemical composition of the alloys. The analyses made it possible to obtain an overview of typical corrosion forms seen on ancient tin objects. In order to study the influence of the alloying elements and corrosive agents on the corrosion behaviour, a simulation study was set up in which five ancient alike tin alloys were produced and artificially corroded by using different corrosive agents. The corroded surfaces were analysed using OM, SEM-EDX and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and the results were compared with those obtained from the authentic samples.
Article
This paper focuses on the corrosion behaviour of tin objects stored in museums. A set of authentic objects was investigated using optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray detection (SEM-EDX). The goal existed in acquiring information on the appearance of the corroded surfaces and the chemical composition of the alloys. The analyses made it possible to obtain an overview of typical corrosion forms seen on ancient tin objects. In order to study the influence of the alloying elements and corrosive agents on the corrosion behaviour, a simulation study was set up in which five ancient alike tin alloys were produced and artificially corroded by using different corrosive agents. The corroded surfaces were analysed using OM, SEM-EDX and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and the results were compared with those obtained from the authentic samples.
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This chapter provides an overview of corrosion of metals. It describes the general factors that influence metal corrosion. Over the years, there have been numerous studies on the rates of corrosion of metals in seawater. From various studies, it is now possible to identify the major factors that affect metal corrosion on shipwrecks. These factors are metal composition, water composition, temperature, marine growth, seabed composition, position of objects in relation to other shipwreck components, depth of burial beneath the seabed, and extent of water movement. The combined effect of all these complex and often interrelated factors is that each object must be considered individually when attempting to evaluate its corrosion history or when considering its recovered condition.
Conservation of' Muririe Archaeological Objects The Coizservatiori o j Antiquities mid Works of Art
  • Pearson
  • Colin
Pearson, Colin, 1981, Conservation of' Muririe Archaeological Objects. London. Plenderleith, H. J. & Werner, A. E. A., 1976, The Coizservatiori o j Antiquities mid Works of Art, Second edition. London.