Characterization of archaeological waterlogged wooden objects exposed on the hyper-saline Dead Sea shore

Asaf Oron, Nili Liphschitz, Benjamin W. Held, Ehud Galili, Micha Klein, Raphael Linker, Robert A. Blanchette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Archaeological waterlogged wood objects exposed on the Dead Sea shore exhibit little visual evidence of degradation when first exposed, and after prolonged exposure and dehydration. An investigation on the state of preservation of this material was recognised as a necessary step towards its long-term conservation. Micromorphological observations, ATR FTIR, ash content, and physical tests showed that deterioration is limited and is mostly non-biological in nature. Natural bulking and impregnation with lake minerals and salts appear to play a significant role in the physical stability of these woods when dried, and apparently inhibit microbial colonization and subsequent degradation. In contrast, archaeological wood examined from a typical Mediterranean marine environment showed advanced stages of degradation by bacteria, with the wood structure extensively compromised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-86
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Ancient driftwood
  • Conservation
  • Dead Sea
  • Hyper-saline environments
  • Maritime activity
  • Waterlogged wood
  • Wood deterioration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of archaeological waterlogged wooden objects exposed on the hyper-saline Dead Sea shore'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this