- Found/Acquired: Egypt
- Height: 3.7 centimetres
- Width: 5.7 centimetres
Inscription Positionone side
Inscription CommentPainted. 6 lines
poor (destroyed by salt)
10 September 1997
Reason for analysis
Identification of salts from ceramic ostraka exhibiting extensive deterioration (1899,1016.23 ; 1899,1016.82 ; 1899,1016.202 ; 1899,1016.217 ; 1893,0514.226 and 1893,0514.827)
A conservation survey conducted in February 1990 by the Ceramics and Glass ConservationSection suggested that around 10% (500) of the Egyptian ceramic ostraka collection requiredurgent treatment (1). In June 1997, Fiona Ward of the Ceramics and Glass ConservationSection reviewed the objects defined as being most at risk and identified sixty-five whichrequired extensive desalination and consolidation of the surface. A number of these exhibiteddramatic salt growth, lamination and disruption of the ceramic surface; they were redefined asbeing in 'Dl' condition. There was some concern that the salts had been formed as a result ofunsuitable storage materials (cardboard boxes dating from the 1950s) and identification wasrequested.Samples of salts were brushed from the surfaces of six ceramic ostraka which best representedthe condition of those classed as Dl. Approximately 0.05 g of salts were accurately weighedinto a glass sample tube and dissolved in 10 ml of distilled water. The solution was filteredand analysed using ion chromatography. Solutions were injected into a Dionex IonChromatograph fitted with a CS12 column to analyse cations and an AS 12 column for anions.Standard mixtures containing five cations and anions were used to calibrate the columns.The results showed that the salts from ostraka defined as being in Dl condition were sodiumchlorides and nitrates; such salts are most likely to be present in the body of the ceramic fromburial. Since no acetate or formate ions were identified, the salts were not caused as a resultof reaction with storage materials. It is possible that the ostraka were subjected to aqueousimmersion treatments in the 1950s and 60s (2); if the objects were not allowed to drythoroughly before replacing in their boxes, development of salts would result.
Analysis reference number
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
There is no image of this object, or there may be copyright restrictions
If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Object reference number: YCA8170
British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.
The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.