A rare find of a high-status 17th century oval box, retrieved from a shipwreck, provided a unique opportunity to research the construction and finishing layers of an object that is untouched for 350 years. This case study was used to demonstrate the extent of data that can be gained from analytical techniques prior to conservation. The amalgam-gilt brass object was studied by optical and electron microscopy, X-radiography, micro-computed X-ray tomography, neutron tomography, X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction, Rutherford backscattering spectrometry, proton-induced X-ray emission and gas chromatography. The results have led to a characterisation of the manufacturing methods used on the box and to a better understanding of the practicality of modern analytical methods and techniques in (maritime) archaeological research.
- 17th century
- Gilt brass
- Maritime archaeology
- Possibilities and limitations analytical techniques
- Technical art history