The surface of archaeological precious metal artefacts contains a wealth of information, especially on surface decoration and other finishes such as platings. However, that same surface is often susceptible to degradation and interventive conservation treatments like polishing can have an adverse effect on the readability of the metal. It is therefore important that relevant information on the object and its context is not lost after excavation.
The focus of this project is to determine different possibilities for optimally extracting technological information before it is lost. Multiple non-invasive state-of-the-art analytical techniques, such as XRF, micro-CT and neutron tomography are applied to several 17th-century finds from a recently found shipwreck (the so-called ‘Palmhoutwrak’). The implemented research method leads to the establishment of an optimal post-excavation conservation and research strategy, important for everyone who has to deal with archaeological precious metals from a marine context.