Conservation of Archaeological Waterlogged Wooden Objects Using Trehalose and Freeze Drying

Author: Andrea Madarász
Mentors: Lecturer András Morgós, PhD; Katalin Orosz, PhD (Head of the paper conservation specialization); Márta Kissné Bendefy (Head of the leather conservation specialization)

Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Budapest (Hungary)
Study programme: Conservation
Specialization: Wood and furniture (5th year of study)


Madarasz AThe conservation of archaeological waterlogged wood is a challenge for conservators all over the world. The most critical interventions are impregnation and drying of the objects. The conservation procedures are often expensive and can extend over long periods of time. Therefore, many are still looking for cheaper and less time consuming methods.
The degree work, carried out at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, summarized here is a contribution to the efforts to achieve the aforesaid targets. During the conservation/impregnation of three waterlogged wooden objects, a kind of sugar called trehalose was employed. Trehalose is a disaccharide, commonly used as a cryoprotectant and preventing the denaturation of microorganisms in frozen condition. The main advantages of this material when used for conservation purposes are its small molecule size, fast crystallization, high solubility in water, low hygroscopicity and fast drying even in open air. In order to make drying faster and more cost-effective, freeze drying was used. This method is well known in conservation practice, but has not yet been used for waterlogged wooden objects impregnated with trehalose. Therefore, a preliminary investigation had to be undertaken. The presentation gives a short insight into conservation with trehalose, followed by freeze drying.

The author has not submitted the paper.


Short biography

ANDREA MADARÁSZ was born in 1980, Budapest. She is a student of the Hunagrian University of Fine Arts (Magyar Képzőművészeti Egyetem), specializing in conservation of wooden objects and furniture. In 2011 she participated in the Erasmus Intensive Programme "Documentation of Historical Techniques in Arts and Crafts" in Hildesheim, Germany. She also spent one semester with Erasmus Programme at the Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst (HAWK) in Hildesheim (2013).