Contemporary Collections: Preprints from the AICCM National Conference 17th g 19th October 2007 Brisbane pp. 187-196
A Dong Son wooden boat coffin, dated around 20 BC, was excavated from a waterlogged rice paddy field in the Red River delta, Vietnam. The coffin contained a body wrapped in a shroud. Approved samples were taken from similar contemporaneous burial sites and from the boat coffin for conservation experiments. A range of drying and consolidation tests were carried out on the textile, wood and bark. Textile results indicate both slow air drying and drying in a chest freezer gave comparable results to vacuum freeze drying whereas solvent exchange was unsuitable for these fibres. Unconsolidated samples were too fragile to be handled but PEG 400 gave the best results of the consolidants tested. Wood and bark results indicate slow air drying gives similar if not better results than drying in a chest freezer or freeze drying. Wood dried without pre-treatment was stable but was more robust following impregnation with PEG 400. Bark samples required impregnation with PEG 400 to be stable. Further impregnation with PEG 4000 did increase robustness but also increased greasiness.