Factors Affecting the Preservation or Alteration of Human Remains, Clothing or Metals on the RMS Titanic and H.L Hunley

  • 19 Feb 2013
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • NOAA HQ SSMC-3 Library (1315 East-West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD 20910)
Abstract:This presentation will discuss how the macro and micro burial environments of a shipwreck can drastically affect the preservation or alteration of organic and inorganic materials. The impact of depth, salinity, temperature, oxygen, as well as other biological factors on these materials will be reviewed and their interaction with site formation processes identified. In this presentation, conservator Paul Mardikian will examine two shipwrecks, that of the RMS Titanic and the H.L Hunley, the latter a Civil War proto-submarine that sank off the coast of Charleston in 1864 with 8 crewmembers on board, and consider what we can learn from these two case studies.

Speaker: Paul Mardikian, Senior Conservator H.L. Hunley Project and Radiation Safety Officer, Clemson University

Paul has over 25 years of international experience in cultural heritage preservation, and extensive experience with complex conservation programs requiring a multidisciplinary approach and international collaboration. Paul has expertise in the conservation of marine, terrestrial and industrial cultural heritage, including large-scale and composite objects, conservation management plans, preventive conservation, X-radiography, freeze-drying, molding and casting, conservation outreach and fund raising. Since 1988 he has played a critical role in the conservation of the artifacts from the CSS Alabama (1864) in collaboration with the US Navy's Naval History & Heritage Command Underwater Archaeology Branch. Paul is currently Senior Conservator for the H.L. Hunley Project, a position he has held since 1999, where he leads a group of conservators and collaborates with scientific colleagues in efforts to research and stabilize archaeological iron and other waterlogged materials. Paul lectures in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation for the College ofCharleston/Clemson University. He is also a guest lecturer for various graduate conservation-training programs in the United States. Paul has been an invited speaker for numerous cultural organizations including UNESCO, ICOM-CC, and the French and Finnish Ministries of Culture. In 2010 he was Conference Program Chair, Co-editor and member of the Organizing Committee for METAL 2010, the interim meeting of the ICOM-CC Metal Working Group that was held in Charleston, SC.

For more information, visit http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/seminars/2013/02-feb.html#OneNOAAScienceSeminars_19Feb2013_NODC.

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