College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
The biological deterioration of archaeological wood under oxygen-limited conditions varies due to the limited activities of microorganisms. It is essential to expand the knowledge of the degradation types and the status of archaeological monuments for selecting the proper consolidates. The physical, chemical, and anatomical properties of approximately 600-650 year old archaeological oak collected from an archaeological site in Iasi-Romania were analysed to assess the quality and to identify the degradation types. The results were compared with similar tests on recently-cut oak. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) revealed the presence of more lignin-related peaks in the archaeological oak, which likely reflected the degradation of the wood carbohydrates as evidenced by the decreased oxygen-to-carbon ratio Cox/Cnon-ox. The differences in cellulose crystallinity were not significant suggesting that any cellulose degradation occurred in the amorphous regions. This was also reflected in the dynamic water vapor sorption analysis where the differences in sorption isotherms and hysteresis of archaeological and recently-cut oaks were marginal. Microscopic analysis of the oak cells illustrated bacterial degradation patterns, while the field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) showed the presence of erosion bacteria in the archaeological oak collected from the site with low oxygen conditions.
Degradation assessment of archaeological oak (Quercus spp.) buried under oxygen-limited condition.
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