Completion of artefact desalination process - 13/01/2013
Sunday, 13 January 2013 17:09

Following our non-shipwreck survey. preliminary dating of the artefacts in water was carried out but this proved difficult as many of the artefacts were partly covered with organic matter or concretion. Due to the substantial quantity of artefacts it was considered that a sample collection for further study was necessary. After consultation with the AMO, 22 artefacts (all blue-and white porcelain shards) were collected.








After recovery, the artefacts were photographed, then placed in a container of sea water and a desalination process commenced soon after. The desalination process involves washing of the salt trapped in the porcelain in a very controlled manner to avoid a rapid release of salt and breaking away any surface markings, painting and glazing. The washing process commences with storing each artefact in a mixture of tap and sea water in its own separate container. Periodically the water is tested for an increase in the amount of salt being released from within the porcelain. Changes of the water are made when salt levels inhibit further release until the water being used is 100% distilled water and less than 5 parts per million of salt are recorded. This process has taken over 2 years for the recovered artefacts.

An artefact register, a photographic record and selective drawings of the artefacts were conducted upon completion of the desalination process. The results will allow further study of the identifiable decorative patterns on the artefacts so as to determine their relative dating.