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old restoration metal artifacts

Restoration of old metal artifacts
from RAdioS 
From Radio Sintonia:

The General Directorate of Cultural Heritage develops conservation work on a set of metal pieces guarded by the Archaeological Museum of Fuerteventura, located in Betancuria, which had never been restored or studied before. These are 8 elements of iron, copper and bronze of the fifteenth century, approximately, found during the excavation campaign of 1945 in the site of El Junquillo and a figure of a bronze rooster that crowned the Weather vane of the bell tower of the Church of St. Mary of Betancuria, probably from the seventeenth century.


The restorer Sonia Argano is responsible for this emergency intervention that aims to solve the poor conservation conditions in which the pieces were, in addition to restoring those that present significant losses due to oxidation and corrosion. In fact, metal materials were in danger of being lost if action was not taken immediately.

The restoration of metals is based first on the elimination of the most active corrosion, then it is necessary to stabilize the possible corrosion that remains and above all, protect the material from environmental conditions, to finally apply a long-term preventive conservation. Probably the most important phase of this process is the latter "because all metals, except gold, from minute one of their production or manufacture begin the oxidation process since they all interact with the environment that surrounds them, with oxygen", determines the restorer specialized in Archaeological Heritage.

According to Nona Perera, general director of Cultural Heritage, "the archaeological funds of the museums and councils guard an important amount of materials that are not properly preserved or have been studied, hence this line of action and collaboration is necessary to advance in knowledge without having to intervene in the sites", Clarifies.

It should be noted that "it is the first time that they have intervened and that minimally they have been studied, not from an archaeological point of view but from a physicochemical point of view, since some analyzes have been carried out to know exactly the constituent material", details Argano.

The archaeological pieces belong to the site of El Junquillo in Antigua, discovered in 1945 by Sebastian Jiménez Sánchez, delegate of archaeological excavations of the province of Las Palmas of the Ministry of Culture. The set of metal objects found in this excavation is composed of a clamp, two oval buckles, a rectangular buckle and another trapezoidal buckle, a button, a supposed American fist, a small scale and a cavalry pinjante.

Due to the small dimensions of most of the metals, it has not been possible to perform a physicochemical analysis of all of them, however, the restorer has determined that the pieces are mainly copper and also iron, which has been corroborated as they were intervened.

As it has been verified, the cavalry pinjante was inventoried as a "saucer" but after chemical analysis it has been determined that it is a decorative element used in the harnesses of horses and its composition is copper with gold leaf. In this sense, "it is one of the only pieces of archaeological metal with gold leaf that is preserved in Fuerteventura", says Argano, "it has a lot of historical interest".

As for the rooster of the weathervane, which is not of strictly archaeological origin, but the analyzes have been able to specify that it is an element obtained through the recycling of different metals, "a fact that fits with the factor that is here on the island in medieval period, that is, there was not much abundance of metals and therefore other pieces were reused that were remelted to obtain a later piece", Arganus points out, "it is a rather strange alloy of copper, zinc, lead and some trace of tin," he specifies.
From now on, the pieces will be stored in the reserve rooms of the Archaeological Museum of Fuerteventura within individual packaging that allows to maintain stable environmental conditions without the relative humidity exceeding 45%. In addition, the Weather vane will once again be exposed in a new watertight and airtight showcase to create a constant microclimate within the furniture acquired by the museum center.Heritage restores a set of metal pieces found in the site of El 
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