Anaerobic Conditions (Bogs, Waterlogged, Subaquatic): Preservation and Conservation

  • James A. SpriggsEmail author
Living reference work entry


Archaeological artifacts which have been lost, abandoned, or deliberately deposited in the ground will become included in the natural cycles of decay and the return to nature. This normally results in the survival of only the more robust materials such as stone, shell, and ceramics and the partial survival of metals, glass, bone, and other inorganic materials. The most abundant materials used by mankind are of organic origin such as wood and plant materials, skins, and other animal products. These will normally all be destroyed through microbial activity and biodeterioration, leaving barely a trace. But occasionally these materials do survive, albeit in a greatly altered state, through becoming included in anaerobic waterlogged deposits. Where such conditions pertain, not only do a greater range of artifact materials survive but also environmental macrofossil remains such as small bones, insect parts, plant remains, seeds, and pollen resulting from the interaction between...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Conservation ConsultantYorkUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Richard McClary
  • Douglas C. Comer
    • 1
  1. 1.ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM)Cultural Site Research and Management, Inc. (CSRM)BaltimoreUSA