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Since 1976, the Brooklyn Museum has been carrying out archaeological work at the Temple Precinct of the Goddess Mut at South Karnak, an important religious site for almost two thousand years. Dig Diary invites you to follow the recent work of the expedition in weekly photo journals covering every aspect of our team's activity.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Soluble salts


While soluble salts are not found to be too problematic with the pottery and the coins on the site, they are highly destructive to the stone. The site contains all types of stone, including sedimentary rocks such as sandstone, and limestone, as well as the igneous rocks such as granite. Granite is often thought to be more durable than sandstone, but soluble salts, if given the opportunity, will destroy any type of stone. The constant dissolving and recrystallizing of soluble salts in the stone body, eventually breaks the structure apart. This is a wall of sandstone near the Sacred Lake on the site, but it appears more like a white limestone wall because it is covered with salt.



One of the methods to limit the exposure of soluble salts to stone objects on the site is to isolate them from the ground water. If the object is an individual sculpture, such as this granite ram, it can be lifted and placed on a base, much like the stone fragments that are stored on mastabas. Here, a tool in the form of a tripod, called a ciba is being used to lift the ram onto a new sandstone base, which will effectively isolate it from the ground water.


Lisa Bruno, Objects Conservator

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