South Adger’s Wharf excavation project
WLCC’s conservators were called to the Adger’s Wharf excavation site in downtown Charleston in August 2009, to give their opinion regarding the conservation of waterlogged artifacts. Shoes and wood fragments were found during the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
After visiting the site, Martha Zierden, curator of the Charleston Museum brought the waterlogged artifacts to the Center for treatment. The work was performed as a community service. Fragments from 24 shoes and 7 wood pieces were received for conservation. All of the artifacts were completely waterlogged and were relatively fragile. The treatment consisted of manual cleaning. The artifacts were then impregnated with Polyethylene Glycol as a consolidant to provide mechanical strength to the artifacts. The second step was freeze-drying to slowly sublime water out of the artifacts. This prevented shrinkage and warping from happening. Finally the artifacts were packed and sent to the Charleston Museum for permanent storage.