Archaeology Lunchtime Talk
Heritage iron: How fast is it disappearing and can we slow it down?
With Professor David Watkinson, Department of Archaeology, Cardiff University.
Iron alloys were extensively used by our ancestors because they are such ideal materials for tools and structures.
The technical and ethical challenges of preserving and managing iron heritage are major.
There are hundreds of thousands of archaeological iron objects in museum stores and heritage iron is all around us, exposed to the elements, in structural and architectural features.
This talk offers insight into the research taking place at Cardiff University, including:
- a report on the large AHRC/EPSRC Science and Heritage project investigating how fast archaeological iron corrodes
- studies into the effectiveness of treatments for excavated archaeological iron objects
- the difficulties of painting wrought iron within architectural heritage.
It will also show how scale is no barrier to conservation design, by mention of the successful desiccation of Brunelís famous steamship ss Great Britain.
The Ferrous Metals Research Group at Cardiff University Department of Archaeology and Conservation is scientifically addressing some of the conservation questions surrounding iron, with the aim of developing predictive treatments.
Ultimately, this will lead to better management of our ferrous metal heritage and best use of the resources available for this task.