To ensure the highest possible standards of conservation, MAC will fund and operate a conservation laboratory where all recovered artefacts will be treated. MAC has engaged the services of York Archaeological Trust from the UK to design and manage the facility. York Archaeological Trust is one of the leading maritime archaeological conservation units in the world with experts experienced in conserving artefacts from marine sites in many countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and across many different time periods from Neolithic times, through Roman, Saxon and Viking, to the Renaissance and early modern period.

York Archaeological Trust is an independent operational charity and a Registered Organisation with the Chartered Institute for Archaeology (CIfA), and all the conservation team are members of their professional body, the UK Institute of Conservation (ICON). This means that the YAT adheres strictly to the guidelines promoted by these professional bodies, in particular, The Institute of Conservation’s Professional Standards and Code of Conduct, and the CIfA Standard and guidance for the collection, documentation, conservation and research of archaeological materials.

“YORK ARCHAEOLOGICAL TRUST

IS ONE OF THE FOREMOST MARITIME ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONSERVATION UNITS IN THE WORLD”

Our conservation programme
will adhere to the ethics
of archaelogical conservation,
namely:

Minimal intervention to achieve the recovery of the maximum amount of information

Reversibility, that is, the conservation treatment can be reversed at a later date if necessary, without damage to the artefact in question

Only conservation-grade consolidants and materials will be used to prevent ongoing damage to artefacts undergoing treatment
No restoration will be carried out to artefacts. Where missing areas need to be replaced (i.e. to provide physical support to prevent ongoing damage) repairs will be affected using appropriate materials and colour matched such that the new repair remains clearly visible and the public aren’t misled into believing that the artefact is intact and complete.

Written conservation plans are prepared for each class of artefact/material types prior to starting interventive treatment.

Due regard will be given to future analyses/research potential, ensuring that interventive treatments will not prohibit research at a later date. The potential for research should be discussed with interested parties before interventive conservation commences.

A conservation record will be produced for every item undergoing treatment and digital images (including photographic scales) are taken before and after conservation. MAC will use a data base system to record each and every artefact recovered from the wreck.

Composite objects, i.e. those artefacts constructed from two or more materials (typically wood and iron) will be dealt with on a case by case basis, and prioritised for treatment where necessary.

Factors influencing their conservation treatment include the uniqueness of the artefact and the conservation needs of each of the material types present.

No physical intervention will commence on recovered marine concretions until they have been submitted to X-radiography in order to identify what is contained within the concreted mass. The resultant X-ray images will determine the subsequent conservation stages.