Examining environmental conditions and the biodeterioration of historic waterlogged wood: the Kolding Cog

IRG/WP 02-10441

B A Jordan, D J Gregory, E L Schmidt

Survival of waterlogged wood from thousands and in rare cases millions of years presents scientists with a unique opportunity to examine wood specimens which, due to select properties of the wood itself and/or the depositional environment, have not been completely degraded. This paper discusses the biodeterioration of a submerged shipwreck buried in Kolding Fjord, Denmark for the past 1000 years. Sections taken from two waterlogged timbers within the wreck site were physically evaluated to determine the extent of degradation in the timber at various depths below the sediment-water interface. The condition of the wood specimens was then compared to environmental characteristics, such as oxygen, hydrogen-ion (pH), and sulfide concentrations. The baseline of information gained from the systematic study of these timbers provides valuable information for the future storage and conservation of the shipwreck.

Keywords: Waterlogged wood, shipwreck, environmental characteristics, biodeterioration, bacterial decay

Conference: 02-05-12/17 Cardiff, Wales, UK

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