Characterization of corrosion products on metals excavated from seal hunters' occupation in Antarctica in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

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Journal Article


João Cura D'Ars Junior de Figueiredo; Juliana Alves dos Santos Oliveira; Gláucia Silva Marques de Souza; Yacy-Ara Froner; Luiz A. C. Souza; Andrés Zarankin;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 60, Number 3, p.211-216 (2015)


The Project ‘White Landscapes: Archaeology and Anthropology in Antarctica’ studies human occupation in Antarctica. Many archaeological artifacts were found in the Livingston Islands, which are valuable in understanding the seal hunters' occupation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the characterization of corrosion products on excavated iron, lead, and copper metallic artifact alloys. The characterizations were carried out by X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, spectroscopy of absorption in infrared, and scanning electron microscopy. Goethite, hydroxypyromorphite, malachite, and pseudomalachite were the major products found in iron, lead, and copper artifacts, respectively. The origin of phosphate corrosion products was attributed to phosphorus in the soil, due to sealers’ activities.