Earlier this year we conducted a survey of all the small metal objects waiting to be conserved. We assessed the condition of each, took a photo, and changed solutions. We also slated some objects for x-radiography.
There are three reasons these particular objects were singled out. First is to determine the condition of the object. When artifacts are submerged in seawater they are covered in a cement-like aggregate called concretion. This is a mixture of metal corrosion products, sediment, and sea life, including mollusk and corals. Concretions can be a thin hard shell scattered across a surface or entirely encase a group of objects in an amorphous lump. By x-raying these concretions we can: