Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Balmy pseudo-preservation

An eBay seller calling themselves 'Metal Protectors' is selling this: Treborius artifact preservation and enhancement balm for metal detecting find (let me guess, the guy's name is 'Trevor'):
A specific blend of paraffin waxes and oils that work together to help preserve, protect, and enhance any surviving details. It has been designed by [a?] detectorist for detectorists and archaeologists. To apply simply rub your finger tip onto the balm back and forth, this will slowly melt the balm onto your finger. Once warm[,] carefully massage the balm onto your artefact or coin. Treborius Balm will not only enhance what details are there but will also preserve the artefact by encapsulating with a micron thin layer of balm that will set.
So, low viscosity candle wax mixed with oil. Mmmm. Lovely.... it does organic remains preserved in corrosion layers a real treat. Also the seller fails to mention the issue with dust. And what kind of 'oils' are involved and what are their long-term properties in air? But of course as the picture shows it makes a piece of dugup archaeological evidence much more saleable on eBay if you smear it with something to make it go all soapy-greeny (a pseudo-'patina').

When this sort of material has been used before, problems have appeared with reversibility at a later stage see here for example. See here too.

Archaeologists (and real 'citizen archaeologists') will not use this sort of crap - detectorists however are another story. The responsible approach would however be to ask somebody who knows about conservation before putting anything like this on ancient metal objects freshly removed from burial conditions.

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