Biomimetic hydroxyapatite as a new consolidating agent for archaeological bone

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Alexis North; Magdalena Balonis; Ioanna Kakoulli;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 61, Number 3, p.146-161 (2016)


Recent mineral-based approaches for stone and plaster consolidation have demonstrated considerable potential by bio-mimicking the growth of hydroxyapatite (HAP), the main mineralogical constituent of teeth and bone matrices. These initial conservation trials, together with significant fundamental research on the precipitation of HAP for bioengineering and biomedical applications, offer great potential in the use of HAP as a consolidating agent for archaeological bone and other similar matrices such as archaeological teeth, ivory, antler, and fossils. This study presents experimental results on the in situ synthesis of biomimetic HAP-based consolidation processes. Controlled application of diammonium phosphate precursors to bone flour, modern bone samples, and archaeological bones, indicated the formation of HAP with instantaneous increase in the cohesiveness of friable matrices and reduced water absorption while maintaining the physicochemical properties of the samples. These results point towards a promising new and more compatible method for the preservation of archaeological bone.