Consolidation of Fragile Archaeological Bone Artifacts: A review

Document Type : Review Articles


1 Conservation Department, Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University, 12613 Giza, Egypt

2 Conservator, Administration of Conservation of Islamic Monuments in Mansoura, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Egypt.

3 Polymers Department, National Research Centre, Dokki, Giza, Egypt.


Archaeological bone artifacts suffer from fragility and weakness, which are due to the effect of various factors either in the burial environment (such as moisture content, temperature, pH value, pressure, microorganisms, insects, and salts) or after extraction and exposure to surrounding environmental condition in museums, storage and excavation areas to different factors such as air pollutants, light, high temperature, relative humidity and etc. The study focuses on the most critical factors that affected bone artifacts before and after extraction from the excavation areas. It also aims to survey the common polymers used in the consolidation of bone artifacts to produce conservators in Egypt a list of polymers used with mention their advantages and disadvantages in order to choose the best ones. Various polymeric materials (natural and synthetic) were used in the field of archaeological bones in order to enhance the bone's mechanical properties and morphological structure. Archaeology scientists utilize polymeric materials in bone conservation for giving structural support to overcome the fragility and weakness of archaeological bones. Analysis and investigation become vital in the conservation field. They are used to identify the best materials used as bone consolidants, determine the types of materials used successfully in the past for treatment, and point out differences in the approaches of conservation and archaeology towards the preservation of archaeological materials. Polymer application for bone treatment should be carefully considered, according to understanding the physical and chemical interactions between the bone surface and polymer matrix. Some synthetic polymers are used by conservators for the consolidation of archaeological bone artifacts since they gave good results compared to natural consolidants, which gave many disadvantages.


Main Subjects

Volume 65, Issue 131 - Serial Number 13
Special Issue: Chemistry and Global Challenges (Part A)
December 2022
Pages 1065-1080
  • Receive Date: 27 August 2022
  • Revise Date: 05 October 2022
  • Accept Date: 23 October 2022