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Wet Organic Archaeological Materials Working Group
Triennial Programme 2014-2017


Working Group Activities and Projects 2014-2017:

The research programme for the 2014-2017 triennium will focus on:

  • The ethics and practicalities of treating waterlogged materials, especially large structures or large assemblages.
  • In situ preservation of waterlogged organics.
  • New treatment techniques and continued review of older techniques, such as Kauramin, PEG, Sugars, Alum etc. In particular, we welcome studies that address the long-term performance and stability of treatments, especially those that reassess the condition of the materials treated as part of the International Comparative Wood Study and currently stored in Trondheim.
  • The treatment of composite materials.
  • The treatment of non-wood organics.
  • The display and storage of waterlogged (and previously waterlogged) organics.
  • The role of sulphur and other contaminants in the deterioration of wood and other organics and ways to mitigate these effects.
  • The documentation and characterization techniques for recording and assessing waterlogged organics.

Activities over the triennium will include:

  • Planning the 2016 Interim Meeting to be held in Florence, Italy.
  • Publication of the 2013 Istanbul proceedings. The target date for this publication is October 2015.
  • Preparation and publication of the Florence 2016 Interim Meeting proceedings.
  • Completing our internal review of the way we do publications. There is a strong sense that the hybrid peer-review/non peer-review structure that we have been adopting to date has not yielded the results we had hoped. Discussions at both the Interim Meeting and the Triennial Conference business meeting have suggested alternatives are desired. We plan to survey the membership and implement any changes for the Florence proceedings.
  • Working with ICOM-CC Directory Board to begin uploading scanned material from past Wet Organic Archaeological Materials publications to the web. Eight of the eleven interim proceedings have been scanned and are ready to be uploaded once the best method is agreed upon.
  • Exploring the possibility of setting up a cross-Working Group sub-committee focused on metal-organic composites. This was an idea that arose from discussions at the ICOM-CC Triennial Conference in Melbourne.
  • Conducting a membership drive to try to better integrate the passionate response that the Wet Organic Archaeological Materials Working Group receives at its Interim Meetings with the ICOM-CC structure.
  • Communicate via two annual newsletters (summer and winter) and periodic shorter updates as warranted.



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