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Conservation of Copper

Review of copper corrosion

products:
Copper chlorides (CuCl, CuCl2,
etc.).
Copper oxides (Cu2O, CuO,
etc.).
Copper sulphides (Cu2S, CuS,
etc.).
Copper sulphates
(Cu4SO4(OH)6, Cu3SO4(OH)4,
etc.).
Copper phosphates (Cu2(PO4)
(OH), etc.)
Copper carbonates

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Ancient Metals Technology & Structure


Shiva, Lord of the

Dance 10th-11th C AD.


Shiva as creator,
preserver and
destroyer of the
Universe.
In the creation of
bronze patina, has
Shiva created a
chaotic, random,
structured, or layered
morphology of
alteration products
with time, or has the
object been destroyed
Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Body parts of bronze statues


of various dates. Found in
the Adriatic Sea near Brindisi

Shipwreck bronze finds


Image courtesy of The Victorious Youth.

Deterioration of Copper
Characteristics of some copper oxide and copper hydroxide minerals: the most
common is cuprite

Mineral
name

Formula

Crystal system

Color

Mohs
hardness

Cuprite

Cu2O

Cubic

Submetallic red

3.5 4

Tenorite

CuO

Monoclinic

Metallic gray black

3.5

Spertiniite

Cu(OH)2

Often amorphous

Blue green

12?

Image courtesy of Brimblecombe 1990 and David A. Scott.

Deterioration of Copper

Characteristics of some basic carbonate minerals: the most


common are malachite and azurite
Mineral name

Formula

Crystal
system

Color

Mohs
hardness

Malachite

CuCO3 . Cu(OH)2

Monoclinic

Pale green

3.5 4

Azurite

2CuCO3 . Cu(OH)2

Monoclinic

Vitreous blue

3.5 4

Georgeite

CuCO3 . Cu(OH)2

Monoclinic

Pale blue

Chalconatronite

Na2Cu (CO3)2 . 3 H20

Monoclinic

Greenish blue

3 -4

Rosasite

(Cu, Zn)2CO3(OH)2

Monoclinic

Bluish green

4.5

Aurichalcite

(Cu, Zn)5(CO3)2(OH)6

Orthorhombic

Pearly pale green

12

Claraite

(Cu, Zn)3(CO3)(OH)4 .

Hexagonal

Translucent blue

4H2O

Image courtesy of Brimblecombe 1990 and David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Types of treatments

Mechanical cleaning: local


Electrolytic reduction: total
Chemical cleaning: partial
Sodium sesquicarbonate:
soaking or spot treatment
Soda/Aluminum foil
reduction
Electrolytic reduction
Silver oxide paste or zinc
oxide
Benzotriazole (BTA):
inhibitor
BTA and AMT combination
Low RH storage: less than
45%
Oxygen free storage: escal
or aclar film with ageless

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Types of environments
Products formed during burials.
Products formed during exposure to the

atmosphere.
Products formed in
the indoor museum
environment.
Products formed in
marine conditions.
Products
manufactured for
use in patination
or as pigments.
Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Bronze cleaned by
hand, loose left
arm removed, clay
core partially
removed,
immersed in
heated sodium
sesquicarbonate,
then vacuum
treatment, then
distilled water, with
periodic exposure
to high RH. When
bronze stabilized,
arms reattached,
two stainless steel
bars inserted,
synthetic resin
used to attach
modern armature
inside neck,
shoulders, upper
arms and right
knee.
Statue of Victorious youth, Greek, c 300 BC. Hollow cast bronze
with copper inlays, before mechanical cleaning and conservation
(left)
andofafter
(right).
Images
courtesy
the Getty
Museum.

Often a combination of various corrosion

products, but we still get a reasonable original


surface to clean to. Sometimes in bronzes this
surface is associated with tin oxides which are
very insoluble.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Zhou Dynasty gui, bronze, shown during

treatment with cleaned section on the right.

Image courtesy of Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Deterioration of Copper
We may get disruption to the original surface

created by different products or events, such as


chloride ion pitting.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

The Victorious Youth


Statue found in

Adriatic Sea after


storm in 1960s.
Not new when
originally lost at
sea.
The surface which
can be revealed by
cleaning is
variegated and
complex.
Statue of Victorious Youth
(detail), probably 3rd2nd
century BC. Bronze with copper
inlays, Getty Museum.

Image courtesy of The Victorious Youth.

We may loose coherence in some objects which

now have the strength of a hard biscuit as


massive alteration to cuprite occurs.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Ancient Metals Technology & Structure

Cuprite below malachite crust extends through sheet


Courtesy of Bruce Zuckermany.

Very heavy mineralization of the Copper Dead

Sea Scrolls seen in section. The green is


malachite and red and orange cuprite.
Thermodynamically stable but mechanically
unstable.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Ancient Bronze
Fang Lei 12/11 c BC.

Late Shang 17001050BC


Does the surface
represent the original
patina, subsequent
corrosion. Or a
complex of both?
What do we want our
bronzes to look like?
As they were
originally or as found
from burial or
cleaned?
Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago

Western Zhou Dynasty huImage courtesy of Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Ancient Metals Technology & Structure


Pure copper reddish, but

colour of Cu-As and Cu-Sn


golden so colour may be
important.
Whole variety of ancient
copper alloys used: Cu-As,
Cu-Sb; Cu-Ni; Cu-Ag; Cu-Sn,
Cu-Zn; Cu-Sn-Zn, Cu-Pb, CuSn-Pb etc.
This giant Buddha 50 feet
tall, cast in sections in
slightly different Cu-Sn-Pb
alloy.
Weathered to brochantite
Great Buddha, 1252, Kotoku-in Temple,
patina: no
allusion
to golden
Kamakura, Japan.
Hollow bronze.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Ancient Bronze
Chinese investigations
into ancient bronze had
already begun by the
10th-11th century AD,
predating such work in
the West by 800 years.
Numerous recipes from
the Song and Ming
periods attempt to
recreate the appearance
of Chinese bronzes which
were already two
thousand years old when
Gao Lian , a Ming
collector records an
artificial patina beginning
with sal ammoniac, alum,
borax and baking it.at
the end of a very long
recipe he ends by saying
that such patinas cannot

Metals: Bronzes of Greece


The magnificent bronzes from
Riace from 5th C BC.
Found in sea near Calabria in
Ionian sea. .
May have been black
patinated but this could be
from sea burial.
Conserved with eccentric B70
method using ammonia in
methanol followed by
hydrogen peroxide in
methanol and RH testing, airabrasive cleaning, RH testing,
local treatment with BTA in
ethanol, only three areas
lacquered.

Images courtesy of the Toledo Museum of Art.

Patina

We now know that black


patinated bronzes were a luxury
item in the ancient world.
Knowledge of such alloys seems
spread from China and Japan to
ancient Egypt and Rome.
Created during patination of
bronzes containing small amounts
of gold or gold and silver.
These minor components altering
the cuprite patina from reddish
colour to a brown or black colour.
To the Romans it was the secret of
Corinthian bronze.

Statuette of God Ptah,


Egyptian, c. 664-525
BC.courtesy of the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.
Image

Roman bronze plaque gr1979.12-13.1


black patinated with gold and silver
inlay Courtesy of British Museum

So what was Corinthian bronze? The


apocryphal story retold by Pliny was
that a house burned down in Corinth
melting the bronze, silver and gold of
the owner together making an
attractive alloy with dark patina.
Inlaid bronze daggers from Mycenae
have black panels set into the sides
which are themselves inlaid in gold
and silver. A typical composition is
93% Cu, 5% Sn; 1.7% gold, 0.53%
silver and 0.5% arsenic. The Egyptian
alloy hsmn-km is of same type as is
the Japanese nikomi chakushoku .
The Iliad mentions the shield
Hephaistos made for Achilles with an
alloy of copper, tin, gold and silver
and decorated with inlaid scenes. This
too was probably an example of blackpatinated bronze as is the Roman
Roman togati
Courtesy of Getty Museum
plaque held by these
Roman

Ancient Metals Technology & Structure


The Delphi Charioteer

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Delphi Charioteer

Plutarch writing in 2nd C AD


about the bronzes of
Delphi: The Delphic air is
denser and close of
texture, with a tension
caused by the reflection
from the hills and their
resistance, but is also fine
and biting.this finesse
allows it to enter the
bronze, and to scrape up
from it much solid rust,
which rust again is held up
and compressed..the
scraping up of the rust is
not the only purpose
served by the finesse of
the air; it also makes the
colour itself more pleasant

Images courtesy of The Museum of Antiquities, Athens.

Deterioration of Copper
Analysis of corrosion of soils

Agency a

Soil type

Years

Corrosion

Maximum pitting

(m/year)

(mm/year x 104)

BNFMRA

5 least corrosive

10

0.5 - 2.5

Uniform: no pits

BNFMRA

4 least corrosive

5.0 - 25

0.040

NBS

9 least corrosive

14

4.0 - 2.5

0.043

NBS

2 next most
corrosive

14

25 130

0.033

BNFMRA

Acid clay/acid peat

10

53 66

0.046

BNFMRA

2nd series: b cinders

66

0.32

NBS

3 most corrosive:
rifle peat/
tidal marsh

14

160 355

0.115

BNFMRA = British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association (now defunct); NBS = National Bureau of Standards.

2nd series = second attempt to derive accurate results for this set of data.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Deterioration of Copper

Two small penannular bronze nose ornaments from the site of La


Compania, Ecuador, dated to about the tenth century CE, showing
the light green, powdery eruptions typical of bronze disease.
Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Bronze Disease

Miniature Portrait
Bust of a Woman,
Roman, 25 BC - 25
AD. Bronze with
glass-paste inlays.
The bust is shown
before
conservation,
illustrating pustular
corrosion with
pitting created by
bronze disease.

Image courtesy of the Getty Museum.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

e
Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Deterioration of Copper
Characteristics of some copper chloride minerals

Mineral name

Formula

Crystal system

Color

Mohs
hardness

Nantokite

CuCl

Cubic

Pale green

2.5

Atacamite

Cu2(OH)3Cl

Orthorhombic

Vitreous green

3 - 3.5

Paratacamite

Cu2(OH)3Cl

Rhombohedral

Pale green

Clinoatacamite

Cu2(OH)3Cl

Monoclinic

Pale green

Botallackite

Cu2(OH)3Cl

Monoclinic

Pale bluish green

Anarakite

(Cu, Zn)2(OH)3Cl

Rhombohedral

Light green

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Deterioration: Bronze Disease

Alteration of cuprous chloride


to one of the copper
trihydroxychlorides.

4CuCl + H2O + O2 =
2Cu2(OH)3Cl +2HCl

2HCl + Cu2O =

2HCl + 2Cu

2CuCl + H2O
CuCl + H2

Possibility of extensive or
continuous deterioration due
to acidic conditions and
chloride ions.

Deterioration of Copper

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Bronze Disease: Treatments


Aqueous sodium sesquicarbonate method.
Scott(1921) used 5% aq. NaHCO3.Na2CO a:

has a pH10; nantokite unstable, converts to


cuprite; hydrochloric acid released.
combines with carbonate to form sodium
chloride, which can be washed out.
Method still in use in BM in 1976.
Too much potential patina alteration.

Deterioration of Copper
Bronze Egyptian bell
Treated with the sodium

sesquicarbonate method
recommended by Scott in 1921.
Treatment has created a
pseudo-patina of malachite
over a strange chalky
underlayer.
Stabilization of bronze disease
but treatment has created a
simulacra for a surface instead
of the patina as found from
burial.
Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Electrolytic reduction
Miriam Petrie bowl
Chalconatronite

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Deterioration: Bronze Disease


External factors
Moisture

Intrinsic factors
Cuprous chloride

Oxygen
Temperature

Paratacamite
Volume expansion

RH
Storage conditions

HCl generated
Fragmentation

Togati pustule
Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Mechanical cleaning
Partial cleaning of a bronze German token

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper

Mechanical cleaning

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation
of Copper

Mechanical cleaning of a
toggle pin.
Too much?

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Mechanical vs. Electrolytic

reduction
A case study of bronze coins

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Benzotriazole (BTA)
Deposits growing on Copper alloy object during BTA

treatment.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Investigations of ancient bronzes


Djureite corrosion on a

bronze vase from the


Oriental Institute of
Chicago.
Cu1.96S
Is this damage from
corrosion in storage or is
it a natural patina of the
bronze vessel?
We can get sulphides
forming from poor storage
conditions or as natural
patina constituents.
Courtesy of Susan Stock

Deterioration of Copper
Sulphides often from anaerobic environments

where sulphate-reducing bacteria active. Can


create very strange patinas as coin here shows.

Right: Roman coin excavated in 1986 from the


river Thames
Below: Medieval copper alloy key excavated in
1981 from the river Thames.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Deterioration of Copper
Characteristics of some basic copper sulphide minerals

Mineral name

Formula

Crystal system

Color

Mohs
hardness

Anilite

Cu7S4

Orthorhombic

Metallic bluish gray

Chalcocite

Cu2S

Hexagonal

Metallic blackish gray

2.5 3

Covellite

CuS

Hexagonal

Submetallic blue

1.5 2

Digenite

Cu1.8S

Rhombohedral

Blue/black

2.5 -3

Djurleite

Cu1.96S

Monoclinic

Metallic gray

2.5 -3

Image courtesy of Brimblecombe 1990 and David A. Scott.

Typical marine environments

Marine zone

Environment

Characteristic behavior of copper

Atmospheric

Partially sheltered surfaces may deteriorate


more rapidly than those exposed; top
surfaces may be washed free of salt by rain.

Splash

Small sea-salt particles carried by wind.


Corrosivity varies with height above
water, dew cycle, bird droppings, wind,
etc.
Wet, well-aerated surface, no fouling.

Tidal

Marine fouling present to high water.

Copper may act cathodically at tidal zone.

Shallow water

Seawater saturated with oxygen;


pollution, sediment, and fouling may all
be present.
No plant fouling; some decrease in
oxygen, especially in the Pacific, and at
lower temperatures.
Oxygen varies, lower here than at
surface; temperature near 0C; velocity
and pH both lower than at surface.
Sulfate-reducing bacteria present;
bottom sediments vary in origin,
characteristics, and corrosion behavior.

Corrosion may be more rapid than in


exposed marine zone areas; a layer of hard
shell and biofouling may restrict corrosion.
Copper alloys may be well preserved.

Continental shelf

Deep ocean

Mud

Most aggressive zone for may metals and


for protective coatings.

Data for copper alloys sparse, but


corrosion is limited.
Partially buried bronzes corroded most;
submerged copper alloys may be severely
attacked.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Rapid shipwreck coin
Treated for 4 weeks in 2% sodium

sesquicarbonate

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Deterioration of Copper

Surface corrosion containing


pustules of copper and lead
salts.

Surface of the Roman bronze


statue of Roma or Virtus
showing fibrous malachite
occurring as curled crystals.

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

How to treat such

surfaces?

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Deterioration of Copper
Plot showing the solubility of different copper

sulphate and oxide species in dilute sulphuric acid


solutions. Data based on thermodynamic and
other calculations at 25C,
after Mattson and Graedel.
Zones for acid rain and fog
are displayed, overlaps
indicating which minerals
are likely at particular pH
levels and sulphate
concentrations. The left
side shows no stable
mineral forms, only
Cu++ in solution.
Image courtesy of Andrew Lins and Tracy Power

Deterioration of
Copper
Stability diagram of

the system Cu-SO4H2O with fog and rain


areas shown for urban
atmospheres. Area A
= atacamite stability;
area B = brochantite
stability. Although the
diagram oversimplifies the actual
situation, it does show
that brochantite
should form in
outdoor exposure an
that antlerite may

Image courtesy of Graedel 1987 and David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Benzotriazole (BTA)
Deposits growing on Copper alloy object during BTA

treatment.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Investigations of ancient bronzes


Djureite corrosion on a

bronze vase from the


Oriental Institute of
Chicago.
Cu1.96S
Is this damage from
corrosion in storage or is
it a natural patina of the
bronze vessel?
We can get sulphides
forming from poor storage
conditions or as natural
patina constituents.
Courtesy of Susan Stock

Courtesy of Susan Stock

The copper sulphide


corrosion has a
cauliflower-like
morphology when
seen close-up.

Courtesy of Susan Stock

Bronze Roma with unusual surface

Hexagonal network structure


Within patina. Tin oxide
enriched
Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Deterioration of Copper
The site of Francavilla
From left to right,
top to bottom:
Extensive working
and annealing to shape,
followed by coldworking of the surface.
Very small crystallized
grains. Copper sulfide
inclusions are visible.
Variable grain size with
intergranular corrosion.
Typical corrosive
penetration along slip
planes in the bronze
crystals infilled with
cuprite.
Corrosion crust
principally of malachite.
Uneven intergranular
attack.
Overall view.
Recrystallized small
grain structure.
Sulphide and lead

Image courtesy of Bolletino dArte.

Conservation of
Copper
How to treat such

streaking and pitting

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation
of Copper
Two bronze swivel guns have been

restored by Archolyse
International's laboratory. The cast
iron parts of these guns have been
preserved: the sighting arm and
the crutch which
supported the trunnions.
The French coat of arms,
a shield with three fleurs
de lys surmounted by a
crown decorated with a
fleurs de lys is on one of
the gun chases and, at
the top of the chase,
Louis XIII's monogram.

Image courtesy of
www.culture.gouv.fr/cult
ure/archeosm

Conservation of Copper
Mechanical vs. Electrolytic

reduction
A case study of bronze coins

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Egyptian roman coins
A case of the need for

trained conservators in the


field.
Coins cannot leave Egypt.
Interest in decorative
detail for archaeological
purposes.

Images courtesy of the Willeke Wendrich.

Conservation of Copper
Some coins in good

condition, some almost


entirely mineralized.
Still a possibility of
gathering information
from various valleys
and peaks
in corrosion layers.

Images courtesy of the Willeke Wendrich.

Deterioration of Copper
Up to 25 aluminium carbonate rinses created a

flattened black coin with minor corrosion removal, but


no chance of seeing any detail. Mechanical cleaning
would have been best.

Images courtesy of the Willeke Wendrich.

Images courtesy of the Willeke Wendrich.

Deterioration of Copper
Up to 25 aluminium carbonate rinses created a

flattened black coin with minor corrosion removal, but


no chance of seeing any detail. Mechanical cleaning
would have been best.

Images courtesy of the Willeke Wendrich.

Deterioration of Copper
Up to 25 aluminium carbonate rinses created a

flattened black coin with minor corrosion removal, but


no chance of seeing any detail. Mechanical cleaning
would have been best.

Images courtesy of the Willeke Wendrich.

Conservation of Copper
Miniature Portrait

Bust of a Woman,
Roman, 25 BC - 25
AD. Bronze with
glass-paste inlays.
The bust is shown
before
conservation,
illustrating pustular
corrosion with
pitting created by
bronze disease.

Image courtesy of the Getty Museum.

Conservation
of Copper
Miniature Portrait Bust

of a Woman, Roman, 25
BC - 25 AD. Bronze
with glass-paste inlays.
The bust is shown after
conservation
There is still a problem
with patina stability.
Are all patinas simply
golden from original
bronze or green from
corrosion?

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Mechanical cleaning

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Mechanical cleaning
Partial cleaning of a bronze German token

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation
of Copper
Mechanical cleaning

of a toggle pin.
Too much?

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Electrolytic reduction
Miriam Petrie bowl
Chalconatronite

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Deterioration of
Copper
Shang Dynasty ding,

bronze, shown after


electrolytic stripping.

Image courtesy of Honolulu Academy of the Arts.

Conservation of Copper
Keel straps during

desalination from
J. Davis shipwreck.
Bronze rudder pin from
Rapid wreck.

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Electrolytic reduction
Rapid shipwreck ship bell after

treatment.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Rapid shipwreck coin
Treated for 4 weeks in 2% sodium

sesquicarbonate

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Benzotriazole (BTA)
Deposits growing on Copper alloy object during BTA

treatment.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
This Roman bronze in
the Getty collections
has a copper sulphide
patina, hence the darkbrown colour.
Highly uncommon in
bronzes which are not
from an anaerobic
environment.
Problems with this kind
of patina: might the
object even be a fake?
Could recall the work by
Schweizer on Land
and Land patinas.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper

Bronze horse trapping in


the Getty Collection.
Very finely developed
epitaxial patina of cuprite
preserves the shape of the
surface contours
excellently.
Very light cleaning would
be carried out, if that.
Could stabilize with BTA or
BTA and AMT 3% in EtOH
and very dilute coat of B72
with aerogel silica to avoid
too much gloss.
In Getty, as perfect RH
maintained, one may get
away with doing nothing.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of
Copper
The controversy stirred up
by the patina removal
technique of Phoebe Dent
Weil was useful in further
developments.
She used glass-bead
airbrasive technique, but
Chase and Veloz showed
that some metal could be
removed too in the
process of patina removal
and repatination followed
by Paraloid B72 coating.

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
How to treat such

streaking ?
One old method is to
clean with ammonia and
chalk or pumice. Then
oil the surface with
linseed oil, or tung oil or
beeswax.

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper

Body parts of bronze statues


of various dates. Found in
the Adriatic Sea near Brindisi

Shipwreck bronze finds


Image courtesy of The Victorious Youth.

Conservation
of Copper
The magnificent bronzes

from Riace from 5th C BC.


Found in sea near Calabria in
Ionian sea. .
May have been black
patinated but this could be
from sea burial.
Conserved with eccentric
B70 method using ammonia
in methanol followed by
hydrogen peroxide in
methanol and RH testing, airabrasive cleaning, RH
testing, local
treatment with
Images courtesy of the Toledo Museum of Art.

Conservation of Copper
The Victorious Youth

conservation.
Nearly all classical
large bronzes have
been found in the sea.
Statue was found in
Adriatic Sea after storm
in 1960s by a
fisherman from Fano. It
wasnt new when
originally lost at sea.
Large ones on land
broken up for recasting
or reworking of the
bronze.
Image courtesy of the Getty Museum.

Conservation of Copper
Crude original cleaning from 1960s has

scratched the patina away revealing bronze


metal.
Cast in four separate pieces
and then joined metallurgically.

Image courtesy of the Getty Museum.

Conservation of Copper
The bronze was cleaned by hand and the loose left

arm was removed. The clay core was partially


removed. Then the body was immersed in heated
sodium sesquicarbonate.

Image courtesy of the Getty Museum.

Conservation of Copper
Then a vacuum treatment was

used.
Then distilled water was
applied, with periodic exposure
to high RH.
When bronze was stabilized,
the arms were reattached.
Two stainless steel bars were
inserted.
A synthetic resin was used to
attach the modern armature
inside the neck, shoulders,
upper arms and right knee.
Image courtesy of the Getty Museum.

Deterioration of Copper
Measures for wet metallic objects: bronze, brass,

lead and silver can generally be allowed to dry


out. Iron may be better stored in oxygen-free
environment, can use oxygen scavengers in
sealed jar or box, silica gel, or store in water with
sulphite added to mop up oxygen. Silica gel may
not be enough for heavily corroded iron.

Conservation of Copper
A French Royal Navy

ship from the first half


of the XVIIth Century
lightened the ship by
unloading artillery and
arms.
No evidence was found
of a shipwreck
16 swivel guns were
recovered, 7 bronze
and 9 wrought iron with
iron-shod barrels.
These were small, lowcaliber, bolt-head
swivel guns.

Image courtesy of www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/archeosm

Conservation
of Copper
Two bronze swivel guns have been

restored by Archolyse
International's laboratory. The cast
iron parts of these guns have been
preserved: the sighting arm and
the crutch which
supported the trunnions.
The French coat of arms,
a shield with three fleurs
de lys surmounted by a
crown decorated with a
fleurs de lys is on one of
the gun chases and, at
the top of the chase,
Louis XIII's monogram.

Image courtesy of
www.culture.gouv.fr/cult
ure/archeosm

Conservation of Copper
The Lur is a Bronze Age musical instrument.
Lurs were usually made in symmetrical
pairs, with identical tuning.
The Lur is known from Norway, Sweden and
north Germany but most, 37, have been
recovered from Danish bogs. The earliest
find is from the end of the 18th century.
The treatment these Lurs have received
shows clearly how conservators have been
influenced by changing ethical standards.
In earlier times the metal was cleaned in
acid or heated "so that the bronze acquired
its natural light yellow colour." Bulges were
smoothed out and the sections of tube were
soldered together, using copper tubes. The
idea was to make the lurs playable, to
investigate their pitch and timbre.

Image courtesy of www.natmus.dk/cons/x.

Conservation of Copper
A fragment of a Lur from Nyrup with enlargements of

an ancient repair (right) and a recent repair (below).


This section was found in two pieces
in 1910 and sent to the National
Museum in Denmark in 1926. By
that time the two pieces had been
soldered together. The museum
register records: "... in the Bronze
Age the tube had been repaired with
a 0.035 m wide plate,
that is still attached
this patch must
cover the joint
between the lur's
first two sections..." .
Images courtesy of www.natmus.dk/cons/x.

Conservation of Copper
More modest conservation.
A pair of lurs recovered in

1988 from a peat stack in


Ulvkr in Vendsyssel
provided an opportunity to
investigate an un-conserved
pair of instruments.
The close up shows polishing
marks from the original
Bronze Age surface.
We cannot be sure that
traces found on the other
lurs discovered in the last
century are original, or the
result of a restoration.

Images courtesy of www.natmus.dk/cons/x.

Conservation of Copper
Restoration and mounting of the lur

from Ulvkr.
The mouthpiece was found in
several pieces. An ingenious support
allows the instrument to be hung for
exhibition without using glue or
solder.

Images courtesy of www.natmus.dk/cons/x.

Conservation of Copper
Bronze spearheads

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Analyzing an Egyptian

bronze.

Image courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Analyzing a bronze bust

from the Getty.

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.

Conservation of Copper
Jane Bassett analyzing a

bronze from the Getty.

Images courtesy of David A. Scott.