Conservation of archaeological copper alloy artifacts from Al Ain National Museum collection: the role of desalination

  • Diego Lois Carrera Conservador-Restaurador CENIEH
  • Eduarda Vieira Investigador Centro de Investigação em Ciência e Tecnologia das Artes (CITAR)
  • Eleonora Bosetto Conservador-Restaurador
Palabras clave: Copper alloy, stabilization, chloride, passive layer, minimal treatment


Al Ain National Museum is in the city of Al Ain, within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This museum preserves an excellent collection of copper alloy archeological objects from different archeological sites around Al Ain all dated from the Neolithic era. We have observed a high concentration of chloride salts in most objects, which favors their corrosion. We conjecture that this may be the case for most sites located in arid zones near the coast.

This paper aims to highlight the desalination treatments used during the conservation project of these artifacts. Desalination was the central treatment to achieve their stabilization and to promote their preservation for as long as possible. While the B70 desalination system has proven to be quite effective; salts still remain on the objects. Therefore, relative humidity and temperature monitoring are required to avoid variations that could reactivate sealed chlorides inside the objects.


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Biografía del autor/a

Diego Lois Carrera, Conservador-Restaurador CENIEH

Diego Lois -has a university degree in Archaeological Conservation (Heritage Conservation High School of Galicia, Pontevedra, Spain) and two Masters, one of Archeology and Heritage (Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain) and other on New Technologies for Cultural Heritage Immovable Conservation (University of Vigo, Spain). He is currently an objects conservator at Nacional Research Centre of Human Evolution (CENIEH), Spain. He worked as an objects conservator at the most prestigious centers in Spain, such as Archaeological National Museum or Spanish Heritage Institute (IPCE), regional museums and international cultural institutions like Heritage Malta and Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism Authority.  

Eduarda Vieira, Investigador Centro de Investigação em Ciência e Tecnologia das Artes (CITAR)

Eduarda Vieira- holds a PhD in Conservation and Restoration of Historic and Artistic Heritage by the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain), and a Master degree in Architectonic Conservation by the Évora University (Portugal).  She is currently Assistant professor at the School of Arts of the Portuguese Catholic University (Conservation of Inorganic Materials), where she coordinates de PhD of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Goods program. She is vice-director of the Research Center of Science and Technology of the Arts (CITAR) and coordinator of the research focus area of Heritage, Conservation and Restoration and editor of the Studies in Conservation and Restoration -ECR-Estudos de Conservação e Restauro journal. She is also a member of ICOMOS and ICOM and researcher in several projects related with Preventive Conservation and Green Conservation besides supervising several PhD and master thesis.

Eleonora Bosetto, Conservador-Restaurador

Eleonora Bosetto - is a cultural heritage conservator. She gained a Bachelor degree in Technologies for Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage and a Master degree in Art History and Conservation of Cultural Heritage at Bologna University.  Currently, she is in charge of conservation projects for national and international public institutions.


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Cómo citar
Lois Carrera, D., Vieira, E., & Bosetto, E. (2020). Conservation of archaeological copper alloy artifacts from Al Ain National Museum collection: the role of desalination. Ge-Conservacion, 17(1), 18-32.