Microbial degradation of archaeological wood

Projekti: Tutkimusprojekti

Projektin yksityiskohdat

Kuvaus (abstrakti)

The project “Microbial degradation of archaeological wood (ARCHWOOD)” has been officially launched 1st of January 2008. The project is lead by Kari Steffen and combines cross disciplinary research with the preservation of historically valuable and important wooden objects. The research team is international but includes also numerous departments from the University of Helsinki, the funding source of this project. The core group consists of microbiologists in our department and of physicists from the Electronics Research Laboratory lead by Prof. Hæggström. Our Finnish collaborators come from the Åbo Akademi in Turku, Metropolia in Helsinki and the Maritime Archaeological Unit of the National Board of Antiquities. Our main objective is to evaluate microbial damage in ancient and historical wood. We analyze microbial DNA, the structure and composition of wood, as well as the mechanical properties of it. Our methods require only micro sized samples or we use entirely non-destructive methods such as ultrasound. The main research object is the famous 18th century ship wreck "Vrouw Maria", which still lies in situ in the south western archipelago of Finland. We are determined to assess the condition of the wreck and to estimate a possible future lifting success. As microbiologists we are interested in wood degrading soft-rot fungi as well as in sulphur metabolizing archaea and bacteria. In order to provide information for conservators we also analyze the success of polyethylene glycol (PEG) conservation on waterlogged wood from the 13th century shipwreck "Egelskär". The main focus here is to demonstrate the impact of PEG on the mechanical properties of wood. Further we are involved in the excavation process of the second sun boat of Pharaoh Cheops in Egypt where the group leader Kari Steffen serves as an expert invited by the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Dr. Zahi Hawass. In addition ancient Egyptian wooden statues stored in the Naprstek Museum in Prague, Czech Republic, as well as wood excavated in Petra, Jordan, are investigated. Further international contact has been established with the "Vasa" research group in Stockholm, Sweden.
Todellinen alku/loppupvm01/01/200831/12/2012


  • Unknown funder: 120 000,00 €


  • 118 Biotieteet