Analytical Techniques for Degradation Assessment of A Skeleton Dating Back to The Greco-Roman Period

Document Type : Original Article


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

2 Conservation department, Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University, 12613 Giza, Egypt

3 Tanta Museum, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Tanta, Egypt.


The Agricultural Museum in Giza, Egypt contains many archaeological bone artifacts. These include the studied skeleton. As a result of the inappropriate environmental conditions to which the skeleton was exposed both in the burial environment and in the museum's environment, there were many aspects of deterioration, including holes, different stains derived from various sources, accumulation of dust, dirt, color change, etc. This study aims to use analytical methods to diagnose the aspects of deterioration of a skeleton dating back to the Greco-Roman era and explain its deterioration mechanism to provide some recommendations regarding long-term conservation treatment that must be carried out in the next study. The authors prepared a new bone samples. Small fallen samples from the skeleton were used in the analytical study. Photographic and AutoCAD documentation were used to record the aspects of deterioration, Light microscope, scanning electron microscope (SEM), Attenuated Total Reflection – Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR/FTIR), X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD), change of color, pH measurement, Isolation and identification of fungi were used to explain the deterioration mechanisms and estimate the conditions of the skeleton studied.

The results of the photographic and AutoCAD documentation and light microscope showed some aspects of deterioration such as accumulated dust, discoloration, salt efflorescence, stains, erosion, missed parts, holes, etc. SEM investigation revealed the effect of environmental conditions on the surface morphology of the skeleton. FTIR analysis proved that some chemical changes occurred. pH value of different samples taken from the skeleton was in the level of acidity compared to modern bone, which was at the basic level.


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